Meeting the Needs of a Changing HIV Epidemic

December 1 is World AIDS Day, the day on which we pause to think about the millions of people affected by the HIV pandemic. As the date approaches, we will post a series of entries focusing on our HIV and AIDS programs around the world. Some of the posts will be technical in nature, underscoring the scientific and programmatic foundations of CRS’ work.

As the commemoration of World AIDS Day approaches, Simple on Paper, Complex in Practice (Greenway, K., 2008) is a reminder that the nature of HIV has changed and we must change with it.

In the early days of Cambodia’s HIV epidemic, most of the people infected were men who acquired the virus through risky behavior. Increasingly, however, HIV is spreading to the wives and children of infected men. Today, more than 40% of new infections occur among monogamous women.

With the increasing feminization of Cambodia’s HIV epidemic comes a heightened emphasis on access to HIV services for women and children. The highly-respected Maryknoll Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program has offered extensive service to mothers living with HIV since 2002. Working in partnership with NCHADS (National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology, and STD) and the national MCH (Maternal Child Health) program, this program was designed and refined over time to provide much-needed social support as a complement to the government program.

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