Prevention & Epidemiology
Thailand: Money Saved on HIV Drugs to Be Used for Prevention
March 27, 2007
Thailand's health minister said his department has saved 500 million-600 million baht ($15.6 million-$18.7 million U.S.) by overriding some AIDS drug patents and producing generic copies locally. The money saved will allow the ministry to begin an HIV prevention campaign without having to await the new budget round, said Dr. Mongkol na Songkhla.
HIV education campaign funding has declined from 1991's peak of 420 million baht ($13.1 million U.S.) to just 20 million baht ($623,000 U.S.) per year now. Concurrently, the public's HIV/AIDS awareness has declined, and infections have increased among certain groups, Mongkol said.
The Health Ministry met last week with UNAIDS officials, who were worried about rising HIV rates, Mongkol said. About 70 percent of new infections were among sex workers and their clients, and the remainder had engaged in unprotected casual sex, he said.
Sex work is now more underground than in the past, when many prevention efforts targeted sex workers, so past public health success in that sector may be hard to replicate, said Mongkol. Nonetheless, he promised the ministry will work with community groups, including People Living with HIV/AIDS, to raise HIV awareness.
The Nation (Thailand)
3.25.2007; Arthit Khwankhom
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.