Illegal ‘AIDS Delay’ Featured At Cambodia Expo & Export

Among the shirts, soy milk and cashew nuts at this weekend’s Cambodia Expo & Export 2005 in Phnom Penh organized by the Min­istry of Commerce, officials said there was one Cambodian-made product on exhibit that shouldn’t have been: “AIDS Delay.”

Touted as a remedy to counter symptoms of HIV/AIDS, the Khmer Traditional Medicine Health Association was hawking the medicine as relief from an illness for which there is no cure, said Dr Hieng Punley, director of the Ministry of Health’s National Center for Traditional Medicine.

“There is no traditional medicine that can cure and delay AIDS,” Hieng Punley said Sunday.

“They are cheaters and the Ministry of Health has never al­lowed anyone to exhibit those kind of traditional medicines,” he said. “The people who advertise these medicines must be fined.”

But at the Expo Sunday, Bun Pheng, the association’s executive director, displayed an association license signed by Hieng Punley, which Hieng Pun­ley could not confirm having granted.

“We have had thousands try our medicine,” Bun Pheng said. “About 20 people followed the exact instructions and are alive today. The others did not follow the instructions.”

Along with AIDS Delay, his as­sociation’s booth featured cures for hemorrhoids and liver disease. All were clear plastic bags filled with brown leaves.

“I cannot tell you what the leaves are because that is my business,” Bun Pheng said. “By drinking tea made from these leaves, patients’ bodies become cool and they can eat again. After a month-and-a-half their health will be normal.”

But Son, Bun Pheng’s godmother and teacher, said that AIDS Delay, which cost $2, was invented by her grandfather who used it for blood poisoning.

Conference organizer Suon Pra­sith said that the exhibits were screen­ed but he did not know much about the traditional health booth. He said that the four-day Ex­po drew 10,000 visitors.

(Addi­tional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)

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