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No HIV Outbreak in Kandal, Health Officials Say

Villagers come to get their blood tested in Peam village, Muk Kompoul district, Kandal province where health officials suspect a mass infection of HIV, on Monday, Feb 22, 2016. (Photo: Aun Chhengpor/VOA Khmer)

According to the statement, only four out of 279 people tested positive for the virus in Peam village in February.

Health officials say they now doubt there is a new outbreak of HIV in Kandal province, following an investigation.

Only four out of 279 people tested positive for the virus in Peam village, Sambour Meas commune, in Kandal in February, according to a joint statement by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.

Health officials had worried of an outbreak similar to that in Battambang in 2014, when an unlicensed doctor treated people with dirty needles, perhaps infecting more than 200 people.

However, experts now say Cambodia will not likely meet its goal of eliminating HIV transmissions in the country by 2025.

Ke Sovannroth, a lawmaker on the public health committee, said the setbacks in the fight against HIV have damaged the credibility of the health care system. “Our medical system has lost all the trust of its people,” he said.

Cambodia had once been noted for its progress in preventing and mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS, bringing its prevalence rate down from a high of 2 percent in 1997 to 0.7 percent in 2010, according to government data.