Cambodian “Doctor” Defies National Decree, Infects 100 with HIV

cambodian doctorIn the United States medical doctors are supposed to swear an oath to help improve the lives of their patients. Of course, all of the wonderful research over the past few hundred years (and particularly over the past couple decades) makes it easier to do this.

And often times the research conducted in America—or by American companies and schools in partnership with facilities in Europe and Asia—serves to help struggling communities in the most impoverished, underserved populations of the world.

So when you hear that a Cambodian Health Worker has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for infecting patients with HIV, you have to shake your head a little, right?

But here is, perhaps, the most bizarre aspect of this story: Cambodia was recently commended for its pledge to prevent new HIV infections by 2020, allocating $3.7 million towards the treatment of HIV over through 2017. Indeed, if you can’t cure a disease, it might be a very good idea to do what you can to stop it. And while this would be commendable for any country but Cambodia is among the poorest countries in the whole world.

Perhaps it was in rebellion of this or maybe he had a different motive, but Yem Chroeum, sure enough, infected more than 100 residents of the northwestern Battamband village of Rokar. Patients range in age from 3 to 82 and even include Buddhist monks; At least 10 of these “victims” have died.

In response to this madness, Minister of Health Dr. Mam Bunheng, “The Royal government of Cambodia will provide access to voluntary and confidential counseling and treatment services for all those who need it. I urge everyone to stay calm and avoid listening to or spreading rumors. We should also all fully respect the privacy of the affected families and insure they do not face stigma and discrimination.”