Cambodia, a country that was recently commended for its pledge to stop new HIV infections by 2020, is now home to a massive HIV outbreak that has landed one unlicensed doctor in jail. Yem Chroeum was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was found guilty of cruel behavior resulting in death, intentionally spreading HIV, and practicing medicine without a license. Chroeum’s use of contaminated needles led to HIV infections among more than 100 residents of Rokar village in the northwestern Battamband province.

"The Royal government of Cambodia will provide access to voluntary and confidential counseling and treatment services for all those who need it," said HE Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health in a statement. "I urge everyone to stay calm and avoid listening to or spreading rumors. We should also all fully respect the privacy of the affected families and insure they do not face stigma and discrimination."

After testing positive for HIV back in November 2014, a 74-year-old man from Roka village sent his granddaughter and son-in-law to also be tested. Both of their results were positive. All three patients recalled receiving medical services from Chroeum. The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia quickly launched an investigation into exactly how many people have been affected by the HIV outbreak.

While over 800 panic-stricken villagers lined up for HIV testing, a total of 106 people tested positive for HIV, at least 10 of which have died. Infected patients, which included Buddhist monks, ranged from age 3 to 82, The Phnom Penh Post reported. During a search of Chroeum’s home, police allegedly found used and unused needles. Unfortunately, many people in Cambodia — one of the world’s poorest countries — are forced into seeking treatment from unlicensed practitioners like Chroeum due to inadequate health care facilities.

Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries in the world, Cambodia was praised by UNAIDS in December of last year after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the country would be committed to stopping new HIV infections by 2020. The country allocated $3.7 million to HIV treatments from 2015 to 2017. This latest HIV outbreak has now called attention to the dangers of needle sharing, which is often regarded as the second most common form of HIV transmission after unprotected sex.