Thursday, July 21, 2005

Women infected with AIDS increase in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, July 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Cambodia's women infected with HIV/AIDS have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, local media reported on Thursday.

Since 1997, more women than men are infected with HIV/AIDS eachyear, though efforts made to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS has resulted a drop in cases in Cambodia from 2.1 percent in 2002 to 1.9 percent last year.

According to the Ministry of Health, 60 percent of HIV/AIDS patients were women between 2003 and 2004. Among 100 women with HIV/AIDS, 42 were housewives infected by their husbands.

This trend may be more a social than a health problem, officials warned on Wednesday at a national forum. Women are afraid of being hit by their husbands if they suggest using condoms, The Cambodia Daily quoted Thida Khus, executive director of the Cambodian NGO Siaka, as saying.

Officials call for giving women greater importance in society, saying if they feel valued, women will be more comfortable negotiating with their husbands and protecting themselves and their children from infection. Enditem

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