A Cambodian man who worked as an unlicensed medical practitioner has been charged with intentionally infecting over 100 villagers in northwestern Cambodia with HIV.
The man, Yem Chhrin infected the villagers by reusing unclean needles.
He's currently on trial and faces three charges including: murder, intentionally spreading HIV and practising medicine without a licence. He could be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty.
He was arrested last December and taken into protective custody, fearing revenge lynching by residents of Roka village, where at least 106 of the 800 people tested were found to be infected with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. Those infected range in age from 3 to 82, and include Buddhist monks
Of those infected, at least 10 are reported to have died.
Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the world, has inadequate health care facilities, especially in rural areas, where villagers often have no recourse but to depend on unlicensed medical practitioners who have trained themselves to treat minor ailments and to give injections.
Yem Chhrin, 53, was one such practitioner. Some villagers said he had a good reputation for his years of dedicated service to the village by providing treatment even though he lacked formal training or certification.
"Whether it was day or night, whether the patient had money to pay for the treatment or not, Yem Chhrin treated them regardless. I think he was a good neighbor," said Chay Savorn, a 60-year-old woman who received treatment from him and was later found to be HIV positive.
She said she decided not to join the police complaint by 120 people against Yem Chhrin, even though four other people in her family have been infected with HIV — her daughter, her mother, a 3-year-old granddaughter and a 57-year-old sibling.
Chay Savorn said doctors have told her that she can live for another 20 years if she uses proper medicines.
As for me, I don't think any punishment in the books is good enough for this guy. He's ruined so many lives (including the innocent monks).
I really hope it wasn't done intentionally.