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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quality of Care, Quality of Life

[PHNOM PENH]-Hundreds working on or affected by HIV will come together at the Pi Phorn Raingsey Pagoda in Phnom Penh, Wednesday May 25th 2011 at 4-7pm,  for the annual Candlelight Memorial Day 2011 ceremony. Organized by the HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee (HACC), in partnership with other community organizations working on HIV, these NGOs will use the ceremony to call for improvements to the quality of care and quality of life for people living with HIV and raise awareness about some of the challenges facing the HIV response nationally.

As Mr TIM Vora, HACC’s Executive Director explains “Although Cambodia has made great gains in combating the spread of HIV and improving access to health care, the quality of this health care is often limited.  In addition, poverty and widespread fear, stigma and discrimination prevent many people living with and affected by HIV from living healthy and fulfilling lives.”

NGOs are also calling on the Cambodian government and donors to continue to support and fund the HIV/AIDS response. “Just as we continue to honor the memories of those who have died from AIDS with this Candlelight Memorial Day ceremony, the HIV response needs ongoing commitment, cooperation and support at every level; from the Royal Government of Cambodia, to local authorities to local and international donors” said Mr Vora.

To date, the HIV response in Cambodia has been highly dependent on international donor funds, yet these have begun to diminish following a reduction in HIV prevalence rates. 

“A reduced rate of HIV infection does not mean that there are no longer major challenges” says Mr Vora. “NGOs need to continue to be involved in developing plans for the long term to ensure that there are local funds to provide people living with HIV ongoing access to high quality health care and medication, as well as adequate nutrition and livelihood opportunities.”

A global grassroots movement, Candlelight Memorial Day is an annual event designed to spread hope, unite communities and honor the memories of those who have lost their live to AIDS related illness. All those interested in showing their support for people living with HIV are invited to attend the ceremony at the Pi Phorn Raingsey Pagoda (Wat Chen Dam Dek) Sangkat Srah Chok, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh tomorrow Wednesday May 25th 4-7pm. Around 400 people included people living with HIV (PLHIV), Men who have sex with Men (MSM), Entertainment Workers (EW), drug users, volunteers, students, Monks, Representatives of Civil Societies, government official, development partners, and so on will participate in this event.

In addition to HACC, The National Men who have Sex with Men network/ Bandanh Chaktomuk (BC), The Cambodia Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (CACHA), The Cambodian Community of Women living with HIV and AIDS (CCW), The Cambodian Network of People Living with HIV (CPN+) and The Women’s Network for Unity (WNU) are organizing partners for this year’s event.

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