PHNOM PENH, August 16, 2004 ( – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen recently intervened to stop an international organization from testing an anti-HIV drug called Tenofovir in Cambodia. He urged Cambodians to boycott the program, saying the country was not a test bed for “out-of-date” technologies. Cambodian Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said the prime minister was worried about the trial’s effects. “He is worried that the drug testing will affect the health of Cambodian people, human values and rights,” the minister said.  The testing is spearheaded by Family Health International, which describes itself as an NGO committed to “improve people’s access to quality reproductive health services” and which develops strategies to “respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic; other sexually transmitted infections; unintended pregnancies…” Family Health International, which promotes abortifacient contraception in over 70 countries, is unenthusiastic about abstinence in its AIDS awareness and prevention programs.  Tenofovir has been used to treat HIV but not to prevent it. The drug is to be tested on 8,000 healthy individuals, mainly involved in prostitution, to determine its preventative capacity. Cambodian prostitutes refused to participate in testing because full medical coverage was not provided. It is not known whether it is safe for healthy people to take the drug over a long period of time.  The Tenofovir trial has already started in Botswana, Ghana and Malawi. Plans are underway to test the drug in the United States, Thailand and Nigeria. Dr. Ward Cates of Family Health International was disappointed by the Cambodian prime minister’s decision. Family Health International denies that the testing violates human rights. “We are providing the participants with an enhanced standard of care”, said Dr. Cates.  Jmo