Thailand Aims to Halve HIV Infections Within Three Years: Official
February 15, 2006
On Tuesday at an HIV/AIDS conference in Pattaya, a senior Thai health official announced a campaign designed to halve new HIV infections within three years. Health officials from 22 countries are attending the three-day conference, which aims to find regional strategies for providing universal HIV/AIDS treatment.
"Thailand will move ahead with a strategic aim to strengthen our prevention programs and to reduce new infections by half within three years," said professor Arun Pausawasdi, Thai vice minister for public health. "We do anticipate that the number of new HIV infections in 2008 will be 7,500 cases [against 15,000 new cases reported in 2005] and thus, in 2010, there will be no more than 6,000 cases."
More than one million Thais have contracted HIV since the first case was reported 22 years ago, according to a Thai government statement in July. Roughly 500,000 have died and approximately 500,000 are living with the disease. A UN report in November said Thailand's adult HIV prevalence rate fell to a record low of 1.5 percent in 2003, but it noted that only 51 percent of Thai sex workers reported using condoms.
Arun told the conference that the Thai government has declared universal antiretroviral coverage for HIV/AIDS patients who meet the necessary criteria.
Michel Sidibe, director of country and regional support for UNAIDS, said getting information to young people and dealing with discrimination were barriers to the UN's goal of universal access to treatment by 2010. Other challenges, Sidibe said, were reaching men who have sex with men, sex workers, and dealing with issues of immigration and migration.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.