Eighty AIDS patients will soon begin receiving free treatment using Chinese traditional medicine at Takhmau’s Chey Chumneas Hospital.
The treatment does not cure people of HIV, but “enhances and strengthens the immune system,” said Luk King Ting, an official with a Hong Kong biotechnology company that is co-sponsoring the $1.9 million program with Cambodian businessman Mong Reththy and the Kandal provincial health department.
Little research exists on the effect of Chinese traditional medicine on AIDS patients, but traditional medicines can help fight the opportunistic infections that often attack AIDS patients, UNAIDS country program adviser Geoff Manthey said. “They do have a place, but I would hesitate to say that this is a cure,” he said.
Tests in China, where the HIV rate has grown rapidly in recent years, have shown no side effects from the traditional medicine treatment, which uses sea horse, deer horn and other herbs, Luk King Ting said. He claimed the health of 40 HIV-infected Cambodians improved last year when they were given the same treatment.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the treatment inauguration that combating HIV and AIDS is important because of the effect the disease could have on national economic development.
An estimated 168,000 Cambodians adults are suffering from HIV/AIDS, according to a government report released last year.