Thailand: Chiang Rai Tries New Approach to Teaching Teens About Safe Sex
October 5, 2005
A survey of teenage behavior conducted in Chiang Rai province this year raised concerns about the risk of HIV infection among youth. Only about 30 percent of respondents said they used condoms. The survey also found that teens are beginning to have sex at younger ages and that they do not tend to practice safe sex or have knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
In response to the findings, Chiang Rai has conceived the idea of a peer-to-peer club to promote safe sex. The club, to be located in the province's most popular teen hangout area, will offer inducements such as free Internet to attract youth. Regular visitors will be exposed to information on HIV/AIDS and sexual relations, with counseling on other teen problems possibly to be added later.
Teenagers who work as counselors at the club will receive in-service training and report what they learn from clients to public health authorities.
The club's establishment is part of a Thai-US cooperative effort on HIV/AIDS-related problems in the country's northern region. Like many provincial Thai cities, Chiang Rai has a lot of students from outlying district who come to live in dormitories while they go to school. The provincial health office met with dormitory operators to seek their cooperation, including installing condom machines for the young residents. The province's deputy chief medical officer, Dr. Surin Sumanapun, said few dormitory owners were receptive to the idea.
The Nation (Thailand)
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.