PHNOM PENH, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia is moving towards an AIDS-free generation and is one of the few countries globally that have successfully reversed its HIV epidemic from a peak of an estimated HIV prevalence at 1.7 percent in 1998 to 0.7 percent in 2012 among the general population, the National HIV Health Sector Program Review revealed on Friday.
The estimated number of new HIV infections had been reduced from almost 15,500 per year in the early 1990s to around 2,100 by 2009 and 1,000 by 2011, the report said.
Cambodia's success in drastically reducing HIV prevalence was largely due to the efforts by the government in introducing rigorous prevention programs, focusing on entertainment workers, preventing the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies, confidential HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, it said.
Cambodia has vowed to achieve the United Nations principle to get to the three zero strategy: "zero new infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths" by 2020.
"Having reviewed available data, documents and reports and carried out on-site observations and interviews, the Review of the National Health Sector Response to HIV concluded that Cambodia was on track moving towards the ambitious goal of eliminating new HIV infections in the country by 2020," said Professor Daniel Tarantola, who led the review team.
However, to attain the goal of eliminating HIV transmission in Cambodia by 2020, certain conditions would have to be met, the report said.
The conditions include sustained services and resources, which are dedicated to HIV and Social Transmitted Infection prevention, care and treatment, and better access to the most vulnerable and most risky populations as well as pregnant women and children.
"Cambodia is committed to eliminating new HIV infections by 2020 through applying a public health approach and strengthening health and community systems," Mam Bunheng, minister of health, said.
The country is regarded by the international community as one of the most successful countries in the region and the world in its health sector response to HIV.
"The World Health Organization who facilitated this review is committed to supporting the government of Cambodia in its follow up on the implementation of recommendations of the review team," said Pieter van Maaren, WHO Representative to Cambodia.
According to Cambodia's National institute of Public Health, currently, about 77,861 Cambodian people have been living with HIV/ AIDS including 5,349 children.
The country needs about 58 million U.S. dollars a year to fight against HIV/AIDS in order to achieve the United Nations' three zeros HIV/AIDS target by 2020.