Updated 13 January 2015

Cambodia finds 212 with HIV where unlicensed medic operated

Health officials in Cambodia have discovered 212 villagers who have been infected with HIV who are from the same region where an unlicensed medic was recently arrested for using contaminated equipment.


Cambodian health authorities have found 212 villagers infected with HIV in a district where an unlicensed medic has been charged with murder on suspicion of spreading the virus with contaminated equipment.

Prosecutors charged the medic with murder last month after the spread of the virus that causes Aids among scores of people came to light.

The 212 people with HIV were discovered after authorities tested a total of 1 940 people in the district in Battambang province in the northwest where the medic treated people.

The government and international health agencies including the World Health Organisation and UN AIDS released their findings in a statement on Saturday but they did not mention the medic.

However, Health Minister Mam Bunheng urged health authorities to strictly follow protocols on the use of clean equipment and he vowed to eliminate new HIV infections by 2020.

"The Ministry of Health is ensuring health facilities to follow universal precautions and use clean and sterile equipment," Mam Bunheng said.

The medic, Yem Chrin, provided cheap health services to the poor and was believed to have possessed healing powers, police said.

The government and health organisations said there appeared to be a link between injections and HIV among the people they tested.

"The study showed that the percentage of people that reported receiving an injection or intravenous infusion as part of their health treatment was significantly higher among the people who tested positive for HIV than the people who were HIV negative," they said in their statement.

The case has been a blow to Cambodia's largely successful efforts against HIV infection after the virus first spread quickly through the impoverished country in the 1990s.

Read more:
Men on HIV preventative drugs ditching condoms
Birth control shot may boost HIV infection risk
New clues to HIV origin


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules