Government officials are making special efforts to fight misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, after a Khmer-language newspaper reported about a week ago that the popular Number One condoms might be infected with the AIDS virus to kill Cambodians.
Officials from the National AIDS Authority and the Ministry of Information held a press conference Thursday to allay fears and stress that condoms cannot be made with AIDS inside.
“The National AIDS Authority has concluded that the story has no scientific foundation,” said Dy Narong-Rith, minister of the National AIDS Authority. “AIDS cannot live outside a human cell.”
The newspaper, Katte Cheat Khmer (Khmer National Ideal), printed a retraction after the original story was published in the Dec 17-18 issue.
“I would like to apologize for the story,” said Mu Rapat, editor of the paper. “We got the information from an unclear source and we made a mistake as professional journalists.”
After the story was printed, the Ministry of Information sent Mu Rapat a letter asking him to send the ministry evidence to back up the story or have a complaint filed against it.
If the paper didn’t have any evidence, the ministry would file a complaint against it.
“Often condoms are the best way to prevent AIDS,” Dy Narong-Rith said. “The National AIDS Authority hopes Cambodians are not confused by the misinformation.”