Monday, April 06, 2009

Cambodia Drives up HIV/AIDS Awareness

I just wonder how they get so many people to take a drivers license test.

Cambodian Government Plans To Use Drivers License Tests To Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness

In an effort to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among drivers -- particularly professional truck drivers, many of whom visit commercial sex workers while on the road -- the Cambodian government plans to add questions about the disease to the driver's license exam administered by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Phnom Penh Post reports. The test later this year will include approximately 12 questions about HIV/AIDS. The ministry receives about 2,000 applications for licenses monthly, Keo Savin of the Land Transport Department said, adding that there are 1.14 million registered cars and motorbikes and 405,00 registered drivers in Cambodia. The project is receiving support from the Asian Development Bank.

According to Ung Chun Hour, the ministry's director-general of transport, the ministry is collaborating with the National AIDS Authority at the Ministry of Health to finalize the questions. Chun Hour said, "It is important that drivers -- particularly professional drivers -- know about HIV/AIDS. Professional truck drivers live far from home and are more likely to use sex partners."

Teng Kunthy, secretary-general of the National Aids Authority, said plans to include questions about HIV/AIDS on driving tests come in light of the fact that Cambodia's roads are improving, resulting in more truck drivers traveling within Cambodia and to other neighboring countries, the Post reports. He said, "We are worried that when they stop along their route, they often look for sex partners -- that's why we want to educate them during their driving test, so they know to take care of themselves." According to Kunthy, the next stage is to raise awareness among people who live on the busiest trucking routes (Channyda/Kunthear, Phnom Penh Post, 3/27).

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