The Cambodian Ministry of Health and WHO have begun an epidemiological investigation into an outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in a remote village in western Battambang province in the far northwest of the country.
The outbreak was first identified in late November 2014, when a 74-year-old man tested positive for HIV at a local health centre; shortly thereafter his son-in-law and grandchild also tested positive. As part of the investigation, 1940 individuals have been screened for HIV and to date 212 positive cases of HIV have been identified.
The source of the infection is thought to be contaminated medical equipment. An unlicensed health practitioner in the area who administered treatment to the villagers has admitted to using unsterile needles, syringes etc.
The Ministry of Health has reinforced the implementation of Ministry policy to stop unlicensed informal medical practices.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is working with the authorities to ensure that anyone who may have been affected has access to essential HIV treatment, care and support services.
Advice for Travellers
Travellers should be aware that Cambodia is a country with high prevalence of HIV transmission. Travellers should be aware of the transmission routes of blood-borne viruses and behaviours to reduce risk. HIV is present throughtout the world. Worldwide, the commonest route of transmission of HIV is unprotected sex.