‘Commercial Sex’ Down, Condom Use Up in Cambodia, Report Says
Fewer Cambodian men are visiting prostitutes, and those who do are reporting more frequent condom use, according to a report released by Cambodia's National HIV/AIDS Center, the Associated Press reports. The report states that the percentage of soldiers who said they had visited a prostitute in the previous month dropped from 47% in 1999 to 20% in 2001. The proportion of police officers who reported visiting a prostitute within the previous month dropped from 37% in 1999 to 18.5% in 2001, while the proportion of motorbike taxi drivers who visited a prostitute dropped from 34.5% to 8.5% within the same time period. The report states that condom use during "commercial sex" has risen to approximately 90% among all risk groups. The report "praises" non-governmental organizations and government awareness campaigns for spreading messages about condoms and sexually transmitted diseases among high-risk groups. The report concludes that condom promotion and risk behavior reduction must be maintained to "sustain this positive behavior change." Cambodia has one of the highest HIV infection rates in Asia; approximately 2.8% of adults ages 15 to 49 are HIV-positive (Associated Press, 5/23). Last year, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam signed an agreement pledging to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/6/01).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.