Cambodia’s progress in its AIDS response has already been internationally recognized. New HIV infections have dropped by 67% between 2005 and 2013, and more than two-thirds of the 75 000 people living with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy, the highest percentage of treatment access in the region. Cambodians can get free access to HIV tests, counseling, and therapy. However, gaps in access to HIV services persist, especially among the poor.
Mith Samlanh and Friends International are two NGOs that work together to provide those most in need with basic health education and health care services. Among the communities that benefit from their help there is the Toul Songke community, a former railway in down-town Phnom Penh that today is a slum.
Many of its dwellers are construction workers, sex workers, scavengers, and many of them are HIV positive, alcoholic or drug addicts. The NGOs’ staff helps them by teaching them basic health tips and by distributing harm-reduction kits containing condoms, soap and shampoo, bandages and straws for smoking drugs.