Thailand: STDs Are Spreading Fast Among School Girls
September 21, 2007
A survey of 13,429 students in 24 Thai provinces showed that more than 50 percent of the group did not use condoms during sex, which could put them at risk of infectious diseases. Somyot Kittimunkong, head of the AIDS Cluster Division, said most vocational school girls sampled had gonococcal urethritis.
Somyot said the incidence of infections, especially among teenagers, was increasing because the government no longer launches intensive prevention campaigns, having scaled down HIV/AIDS prevention efforts over the past four years. The Public Health Ministry, for budget reasons, has also shut down STD clinics, which offered disease-prevention information to HIV patients and teens.
The clinics' work was transferred to public hospitals. However, "Most hospitals lack an expert who could counsel youths or even adults with HIV," Somyot said, "so they don't have any correct information or feel confident in using condoms."
The ministry's recent campaign to convince people to carry condoms has met with criticism. Ladda Thangsupachai, director of the Culture Ministry's Culture Surveillance Center, said the Public Health Ministry's message, if not clear, could lead to misunderstandings about what condoms are used for.
Sujittra Prongsang of the Bureau of Vocational Education Standards and Qualifications at the Education Ministry said society must understand that teen sex is not an embarrassment, and condoms work to protect them from disease if they do have sex.
The Nation (Bangkok)
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.