A flourishing sex industry in Cambodia has been accompanied by an explosive spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
In a research letter that appeared April 18 in Lancet, researchers from the United States and Cambodia reported on disease rates among 314 women seeking services at reproductive health clinics, 332 male police and military personnel, and 437 female sex workers.
Among women seen at the clinics, 5% had chlamydial or gonococcal infection, 4% were syphilis seroreactive, and 5% were HIV positive. In female sex workers, 39% had chlamydial or gonococcal infection, 14% were syphilis seroreactive, and 41% were HIV positive. Among the men, 6% had urethral infection, 7% were syphilis seroreactive, and 13% were HIV positive. The researchers called the results "alarming" and said the need for interventions focusing on the commercial sex industry is urgent.
Voelker R. STDs in Cambodia. JAMA. 1998;279(18):1429. doi:10.1001/jama.279.18.1429-JWM80002-6-1