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news | December 01, 2010 | Cambodia | Rehabilitation

A plural action against HIV/AIDS

The teams of ACTED - PSF support 41 health structures © ACTED 2010

ACTED - PSF is striving to improve the health and pharmaceutical systems in the countries of the South in order to provide a sustainable response to infections and illnesses such as tuberculosis, malaria or HIV/AIDS.

ACTED – PSF’s intervention in Cambodia is taking its root in the historic commitment against HIV/AIDS in the country since 1991 and the first programmes against sexually transmitted diseases and on HIV/AIDS prevention. ACTED - PSF supports the national programme against HIV/AIDS through the logistical management of antiretroviral drugs and medications against infections.

The objectives of the HIV prevention programmes are to improve the sexual health of entertainment workers, injecting drug users, supplementing their income by selling sex, partners of sex workers, youth and homosexuals in Phnom Penh through the following programmatic strategies: implement targeted and branded behavior change approaches for entertainment workers and male clients that emphasize risk reduction and promote safer sexual practices; provide and promote access to health information, products and services (consultations, Confidential Counseling and Testing) among most at risk populations; build a supportive environment for entertainment workers’ sexual health by mobilizing stakeholders; and build the capacity of partner organization staff, volunteers and government stakeholders to plan, coordinate, implement, manage and monitor the programme.

ACTED - PSF promotes access to health information, products and services. In the framework of these activities, 192 peer educators (co-workers of entertainment workers) have been trained by ACTED – PSF until now. They inform the high risk population group of the health risks relating to their jobs, emphasizing HIV prevention and the use of condoms. This informal education reaches out to the countryside populations that are at high health risk, due to their isolation.

The teams of ACTED - PSF support 41 health structures that deliver antiretroviral treatments to AIDS patients in 22 of the 24 provinces of the country. This project trains pharmacists and the medical staff in charge of managing and distributing drugs in the reference hospitals, on the management of their stock, on the preparation of drug prescriptions, on the follow up procedures, and on informatory advice to patients.

These complementary and training programmes at the local level are linked to a technical assistance strategy to the national HIV/AIDS programme, in setting up a system of sustainable supply and the monitoring of activities: the quality of diagnoses, the respect of drug protocol, the attending of patients, the welcoming, the data collection, etc.

Based on this experience, in the future, ACTED-PSF will explore non-health related needs of our target populations (entertainment workers, garment factory workers, vulnerable children and youth). This should include addressing the issues of violence against women, access to micro-credit and vocational training and child labor.

33.4 million people living with HIV worldwide.

AIDS continues to be a major global health priority. Although important progress has been achieved in preventing new HIV infections and in lowering the annual number of AIDS- related deaths, the number of people living with HIV continues to increase. AIDS-related illnesses remain one of the leading causes of death globally.

The continuing rise in the population of people living with HIV reflects the combined effects of continued high rates of new HIV infections and the beneficial impact of antiretroviral therapy. As of December 2008, approximately 4 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy—a 10-fold increase over five years, according to the WHO.

Although AIDS is no longer a new syndrome, global solidarity in the AIDS response will remain a necessity.

AIDS epidemic update, December 2009 (UNAIDS and WHO)