TUC Center for Global Health Research

Cambodia Research Publication by Public Health Alumni and Faculty

Congratulations to TUC alumni Jennifer Dionisio, MPH; Hattie Pearson, DO, MPH; and Martin Steel, DO, MPH and Public Health Professor and Chair of the Global Health track Dr. Carinne Brody on the publication of their article “Non-communicable diseases and related risk behaviors among men and women living with HIV in Cambodia: findings from a cross-sectional study” in the International Journal of Health Equity.  Pearson, Dionisio and Steel conducted their research in Cambodia during the field study component of the Public Health Program in 2015 and 2016 in collaboration with the Program’s partner Cambodia KHANA.    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28705242


Public Health receives One Million Dollar grant award:           

The TUC Center for Global Health Research is proud to announce the launch of its flagship project. Funded by the French Government's 5% Initiative program (http://www.initiative5pour100.fr/en/), TUC jointly with the KHANA Research Center in Cambodia is embarking on a $1 million, 3-year randomized control trial to test the effectiveness of mobile health interventions to engage and link high risk populations to HIV prevention and other high quality, tailored health services. This grant will also fund the first Center for Global Health Research Innovation Fellowship which is a 1-2 year research fellowship for recent MPH graduates which will be announced in January 2016. Drs. Carinne Brody, Siyan Yi and Alexandra Hernandez are key investigators on this project.For more information about the TUC Center for Global Health Research please click here: http://cehs.tu.edu/publichealth/research/CenterforGlobalHealthResearch.html

 Phnom Penh, Cambodia [AUGUST 10, 2015]: 

Dr. Yi and Dr. Brody from TUC's Center for Global Health Research are improving sexual and reproductive health services for high-risk and hard-to-reach populations in Cambodia.  

Read the most recent peer-reviewed publications in PLoS ONEBMC Infectious Disease and BMJ Open.

The Touro University California(TUC) Center for Global Health Research and Cambodian partners at KHANA, the largest national HIV organization, are conducting critical research on the needs of at-risk populations in Cambodia in order to develop innovative prevention programming.

Despite great achievements in reducing the prevalence of HIV, eliminating new HIV infections remains a challenge in Cambodia. Cambodia is one of the few countries in the world that has reversed their HIV epidemic from generalized to concentrated, now confined mainly to individuals who engage in high risk behaviors such as sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users and transgender people.

Since 2008, the passage and implementation of the ‘brothel ban’ which criminalized brothel-based sex work may be making the situation more complicated since as a result, the sex trade has gone underground and more women have moved into indirect sex work as entertainment workers. Female entertainment workers (FEWs) include women who work in venues such as karaoke bars, beer gardens and massage parlors and have sex with non-romantic partners in exchange for meals, gifts, and cash.

These two recently published studies aim to increase our understanding of entertainment work and better tailor services to women's needs:

BMJ Open: Factors associated with induced abortion among female entertainment workers: A cross-sectional study in Cambodia

This is the first study to examine potential factors associated with induced abortion among FEWs. We found high rates of pregnancies that end in induced abortions among FEWs in Cambodia. Surprisingly, induced abortion for those who engage in sex work was not significantly associated with either the number of commercial partners or inconsistent condom use in the commercial relationships. Evidence from qualitative research with Cambodian FEWs found that while condom use was generally high with commercial partners, non-commercial or romantic relationships were not characterized as risky and typically did not involve condom use. Therefore, we conclude that unprotected sex was more likely to be occurring between FEWs and there non-commercial romantic partners. Integrated interventions to improve sexual reproductive health among these vulnerable women should be tailored to their lived experiences.

BMC Infectious Disease: The impact of a community-based HIV and sexual reproductive health program on sexual and healthcare-seeking behaviors of female entertainment workers in Cambodia.

This study evaluates the impact of SAHACOM, a comprehensive HIV and sexual reproductive health program for FEWs in Cambodia.  The overall findings of the study indicate that the SAHACOM is effective in reducing sexual risk behaviors and improving the access to SRH care services among FEWs in Cambodia.  Women at endpoint were significantly more likely to be currently using a contraceptive method (OR = 1.4, 95 % CI = 1.1-1.8) and less likely to report having an induced abortion (OR = 1.4, 95 % CI = 1.1-1.7) during the time working as a FEW.  However, women at endpoint were significantly less likely to report always using condom when having sexual intercourse with clients in exchange for money or gifts (OR = 2.6, 95 % CI = 1.5-4.5). The decrease in consistent condom use with commercial partners may be attributed to challenges in program implementation. One of the main condom distribution centers had to close mid-program due to funding cuts.