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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cambodia aims to raise AIDS/HIV awareness among drivers

By Wang Eng Eng, Channel NewsAsia

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's battle against AIDS and HIV infection has hit the road.

From this year, new drivers will have to learn more than just how to handle a vehicle; they will also be quizzed on their knowledge of AIDS/HIV infection.

"Every year, we have more than 20,000 people who want to get a driver's licence. So during the examination, we'll put 12 questions on HIV prevention," said Lim Sidenine, director of Planning and Admin General Department, Ministry of Public Works & Transport, Cambodia.

Questions include how AIDS/HIV infection is transmitted and how to protect oneself against the disease.

The Ministry of Public Works & Transport is also taking the lead in educating truck and lorry drivers, as this group is considered at greater risk of AIDS/HIV infection.

Truck and lorry drivers play a key role in Cambodia's infrastructure growth as they transport building materials across the country.

However, most of the infrastructure and road improvement projects are concentrated in towns with a high prevalence of AIDS/HIV infection such as Poipet, which is at the Thai-Cambodia border.

Cambodia's HIV infection rate has fallen in recent years from 0.9 per cent in 2006 to 0.7 per cent in 2008 - mostly due to government efforts to promote condom use in brothels. - CNA /ls

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