Journalist | Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hundreds Test Positive for HIV in Unusual Outbreak


By Alex Consiglio

The Cambodia Daily

An outbreak of HIV cases in Battambang province’s Roka Commune led to wide panic in December 2015.

As the number of infected villagers continued to grow, the outbreak was pinned on one unlicensed doctor in the commune.

The doctor was eventually jailed, accused of reusing syringes and spreading the virus to hundreds of people, including children.

The doctor’s home and the local health centre were only hundreds of feet apart.

A commune chief collects thumbprints. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

Children react to negative HIV test results in Roka commune, where hundreds of villagers tested positive during an outbreak blamed on an unlicensed doctor. // Alex Consiglio

Health Minister Mam Bunheng speaks with a healthcare worker in the commune health centre. (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

Authorities document evidence in the backyard of the unlicensed doctor. // Alex Consiglio