Five years after an HIV outbreak in a Cambodian commune, villagers feel forgotten

"No one pays attention. No one thinks about us."

The house of Yem Chrin, a local medic now serving a 25-year jail sentence, stands abandoned in Roka commune in Cambodia, located in Battambang’s Sangke district.

In 2015, a provincial court found him guilty of providing treatment without a license. Among a host of other charges, Yem Chrin was found to be responsible, ultimately, for spreading the HIV virus among hundreds of villagers in 2014 by reusing dirty syringes.

For a time, the case drew national and international attention as it was gradually discovered that almost 300 villagers — from young children to 80-year-olds, and monks at local pagodas — tested HIV positive.

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