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WHO, Phnom Penh: No Regional HIV Outbreak

FILE - Medical equipment is ready for health officials to use to conduct HIV blood tests on residents in Peam village, Kandal province, Feb 22, 2016. (Photo: Aun Chhengpor/VOA Khmer)

A suspected outbreak of HIV in Kandal province is unlikely, Cambodian health officials say following an investigation.

Only four out of 279 people tested positive for the virus in Peam village, Sambour Meas commune, in Kandal in February, according to a joint statement by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.

Health officials had worried about an outbreak similar to that in Battambang in 2014, when an unlicensed doctor treated patients with dirty needles and infected more than 200 people.

However, experts now say Cambodia will not likely meet its goal of eliminating HIV transmissions in the country by 2025.

Ke Sovannroth, a lawmaker on the public health committee, said the setbacks in the fight against HIV have damaged the credibility of the health care system.

"Our medical system has lost all the trust of its people," he said.

Cambodia had once been noted for its progress in preventing HIV and AIDS and mitigating their impact, bringing the prevalence rate down from a high of 2 percent in 1997 to 0.7 percent in 2010, according to government data.