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US Launches Program for HIV/AIDS Victims

The US announced on Monday a $13.4 million program to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS in Cambodia.

More than 700 people gathered for the launch of the program, at a Takeo province pagoda that acts as an orphanage and help center for victims of the disease.

The five-year US program will “offer care to people affected by HIV/AIDS, including people living with the disease and orphans, while also seeking to prevent new infections among groups at high risk of acquiring the disease,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

The program will be run by the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance, or Khana, which offers training to 60 local organizations and supports more than half the nation’s community-based HIV care teams.

Chhoup Sok Chamrouen, director of technical support for Khana, said the project would provide education to communities, support to orphans and prevention measures in at-risk areas.

“By working with leaders like the monks at Wat Opot, our implementing partner [Khana] is making an enormous contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in communities throughout the country,” US Ambassador Carol Rodley said at the launch of the program. “The United States looks forward to continuing our support for community initiatives like these.”

The US has provided Cambodia $18.5 million in 2010 for the prevention of HIV among those most at risk and for care and treatment of those infected with the disease, the embassy said.