Cambodian Peer Education to Streamline Treatment, Testing Practices

 

PHNOM PENH – AHF Cambodia, the East Asian country’s branch of global nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), hosted a three-day workshop in June to train 55 PLHIV Peer Educators – people who are themselves HIV-positive who assist others living with the virus through treatment, counseling, care, and testing – on a variety of subjects to streamline testing and treatment practices, as well as maximize the Peers’ knowledge about HIV.

The workshop was held at the Cambodia Japanese Cooperation Center (CJCC) and the PLHIV Peer Educators who attended work for 24 Opportunistic Infection/Antiretroviral Treatment (OI/ART) clinics supported by AHF Cambodia throughout the country. The purpose of the training was to update the Peers on new knowledge about treatment and care, as well as about HIV and AIDS at large. AHF Cambodia organizes several such training courses each year for PLHIV Peer Educators.

The topics discussed included antiretroviral treatment (ART), how the HIV virus develops inside the human body, proper weekly data collection, Community Peer Initiative Testing and Counseling (CPITC), and the Three Zero Strategy of the Cambodian government, which was introduced on World AIDS Day (December 1) 2011 and mandates that Cambodia see “zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths” by 2020.

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“This training was really important for me to update my knowledge of HIV and AIDS, in particular the HIV Three Zero Strategies,” said Mr. Chhea Lengkry, a Peer Educator from Kandal Province. “During my participation, I could see new, updated photos of people working against HIV and AIDS and many new documents. It was interesting to get new knowledge of a type of medicine called [Option] B+, which was used for pregnant women to reduce and avoid HIV infection.”

“I loved learning about medicine formulas and the Three HIV Zero Strategies the most because before I never knew about regimens – it was only doctors or pharmacists who knew about the types of medicines,” agreed Mrs. Seth Seak, a Peer Educator from Prey Veng Province. “With this new knowledge, I hope I can share my knowledge and educate other patients who have less knowledge about medicine.”

AHF Cambodia currently serves about 22,765 men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in a country where the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates 64,000 people are living with the virus.

 

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