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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Law on the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia

Issues: In July 2002, 
The Cambodian National Assembly passed the Law on the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS. The law mandates a wide range of activities by Ministries of the Royal Government of Cambodia and by civil society. It takes a strong human rights approach, emphasizing non-discrimination, confidentiality, voluntary HIV testing, freedom of movement and abode, and the prohibition of HIV screening for employment or education, for example. The National AIDS Authority is responsible for coordinating the multisectoral implementation of the legislation, including resource mobilization. The National AIDS Authority (NAA) needed to promote awareness of the legislation in Cambodian society and implementation of the legislation by all stakeholders. 

Description: The NAA established a Legal and Policy Working Group which developed a code of conduct for operationalizing the law. The process involved stakeholders from 14 government Ministries, the Cambodian courts system, providers of health care services, multilateral agencies, and local and international nongovernmental organizations, with technical assistance from The POLICY Project Cambodia. 

Lessons learned: A code of conduct which articulates in plain language the meaning of the key provisions of the law, and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, is a valuable tool for promoting awareness and understanding of the law, and for giving practical meaning to the provisions it contains. The involvement of all relevant government and civil society stakeholders in drafting the code of conduct is important in producing an effective document. 

Recommendations: Legislation dealing with multiple aspects of HIV/AIDS such as non-discrimination, voluntary counseling and testing, confidentiality, and freedom of movement and abode, can have greater impact when it is accompanied by a plain language document to raise awareness in the general population, and to guide implementation of the law by all stakeholders.


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