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Thai HIV Cases Hit 1.1 Million

in MONGOLIA, 11/04/2011

A Seminar on HIV/AIDS in Thailand has been told that HIV/AIDS cases have topped 1.1 million, with gays the fastest growing infection group. Thailand’s Public Health Ministry on Tuesday reported that the cumulative number of people living with HIV has reached 1.1 million while about 10,000 others became newly infected each year with the deadly virus.

Speaking during the 13th national seminar on the HIV/AIDS situation in Thailand, Dr Chawetsan Namwat, chief of the ministry’s AIDS Epidemiology Group, said that some 1,100,000 HIV/AIDS infections have been recorded since the HIV epidemic emerged in 1984. About 500,000-600,000 of the affected are still living while about 600,000 others have died during over two decades.

Currently, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases were reported at about 10,000 persons each year, a lower figure than during the early years, due to medical advances and health care development. However, Dr Chawetsan said that the new infection rate remained high. The main cause of transmitting the infection – some 84 per cent – was sexual intercourse, with the increasing infection ratio among male homosexual groups.

Meanwhile, the HIV/AIDS contraction among injecting drug users fell to 26 per cent from 40 per cent in the past owing to changing methods of drug use. Mother-to-child transmission accounted for only three per cent as HIV-positive mothers can now access antiviral drugs.

Epidemiologist Dr Chawetsan urged that using condoms was needed and also called for agencies concerned to encourage and support campaigns promoting condom use to prevent the disease among the high-risk group, particularly students in their early teenage years, when they first become interested in exploring sexuality.

In addition, AIDS Access Foundation director Nimit Tienudom said that in an effort to prevent the epidemics, the government must allocate sufficient funds to provide free condoms as well as to have a clear policy on access to condoms. (MCOT online news)

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