Since last May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), commonly known as Doctors Without Borders, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Cambodia have been collaborating at the Preah Kossamak ART Clinic in Phnom Penh to provide free treatment to patients who are living with HIV and hepatitis C (HCV).
Patients living with both viruses are at an increased risk of developing and progressing to severe liver disease, and due to liver damage and toxicity, many have higher mortality rates and more treatment complications.
“This is the first project in the country to provide free HCV treatment to HIV-HCV co-infected patients,” said AHF Asia Bureau Chief Dr. Chhim Sarath. “We are proud to have collaborated with the project and hope this cooperation will reduce the mortality rate among HIV-HCV co-infected patients.”
Prior to the collaboration, some clients who were diagnosed with chronic HCV, started and were responsive to antiretroviral treatment, but their liver disease still progressed to more severe stages and to decompensated cirrhosis, which is often fatal.
Before the AHF/MSF partnership, only those who could pay would receive treatment in private practices or abroad, but since then, over 2,600 patients have received care though the joint project.