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Health Workers Warn of Higher HIV Infections

Health agencies say they are worried about a high number of HIV infections among indirect sex workers, drug needle sharers and men who have sex with men.

Infections have risen since the inception of an anti-trafficking law that has driven sex workers out of brothels, where condoms are easily distributed, and into entertainment venues where distribution is more difficult.

Nearly one in every four intravenous drug users is HIV positive, according to government figures. Also, about 5 percent of male prostitutes in Cambodia are estimated to be HIV positive.

Unexpected problems have resulted from the closure of brothels after the passage of the anti-trafficking law in 2008.

“When we go to offer our condoms and sex education services in the entertainment facilities, the owners stop us saying their places do not offer sex services,” said Tim Vora, acting executive director of HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee.