Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thailand: recent rise in risk taking - following earlier success in AIDS prevention

Thailand’s AIDS prevention programme has been  held up as a mode, with up to three million infections prevented by swift response to the epidemic. New infections fell from 150,000a year in 1991 to less than 20,000 in 2004.

However HIV infection among gay and bisexual men in
Bangkok has risen more than 50 per cent from 17.3 to 28.3 per cent, in just 2 years.  People have relaxed.  40% of those with steady partners had unprotected sex with regular partners during the previous 3 months and 25% of those who had had sex with a casual partner during the same period failed to use a condom.

This is all too common in nations where HIV has first slowed down – as also seen in places like
Cambodia and Vietnam, the UK and the US.  The lesson is that constant vigilance is needed, while it is also encouraging to see that education does change behaviour.


The problem is that in every 3-4 year period a new generation of young people become sexually active and thus education is a constantly needed process.


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