World Aids Day 2011: Getting to Zero - Zero New HIV Infection, Zero Discrimination, and Zero Aids Related Deaths
Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011 - The National AIDS Authority (NAA) in collaboration with HIV/AIDS coordination committee and UN agencies, has organized a half day event for the World AIDS Day in Phnom Penh at Chaktomuk Conference Hall which was presided over by the First Lady, Lork Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen. This event brought together around 600 participants including senior government officials, representatives of UN agencies, civil society organizations, most at risk population, and people living with HIV. The World AIDS Day is an opportunity to get people from all walks of life together to make a commitment on HIV response.
In his remark, His Excellency Dr. Nuth Sokhom, Senior Minister and Chair of the NAA, highlighted some key achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in responding to HIV. Despite these achievements, however, it was noted that there still remained many chanllenges to be addressed such as interventions among entertainment workers, men who have sex with men, and drug users.
Representative of civil society has emphasized the stigma and discrimination against key affected population and raised some issues including limited care and treatment for PLHIV in prisons, limited OI drugs, fee requirements for some health services for PLHIV, and lack of support in term of income generation activities. In addition, the representative of civil society suggested to the RGC to increase national budget contribution to HIV response, financial and technical support from Development Partners and to take out barriers of program implementation.
Mr. Tony Lisle, UNAIDS Country Coordinator, made a remark on behalf of the UN Country Team in Cambodia, highlighted Cambodia’s extraordinary achievements in halting and reversing HIV which has been recognized as international best practice. He added that World AIDS Day serves as an important reminder that HIV has not gone away. We face the sobering reality of 7,000 new infections each day. In face of such suffering and pain, punitive laws and chronic levels of stigma and discrimination remain barriers in accessing HIV services for too many socially marginalized and vulnerable people around the world.
The presence of the First Lady, Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen demonstrated the strong commitment of the RGC and herself in responding to HIV. The First Lady much appreciate the joint efforts of all government ministries and stakeholders in preventing and combating the spread of HIV, reducing new infections, enhancing treatment, increasing social healthcare. On behalf of RGC and as the National Champion of Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum in Response to HIV/AIDS, the First Lady made some very significant recommendations in working towards the UN Three Zero’s strategy.