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International News

400,000 Thais Have HIV but Don't Know It

December 19, 2008

An estimated 400,000 people in Thailand do not realize they are infected with HIV, the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center warned at a recent AIDS conference in Bangkok. "This is the reason the virus is still spreading across the country," said Dr. Praphan Panuphak, urging people to get tested.

The conference, organized by the Medical Council, attracted 150 representatives from health agencies to discuss ways to encourage youths to seek HIV testing and counseling.

To date, 1,115,415 people in Thailand have contracted HIV/AIDS, and 585,830 have died from the disease. About 12,787 Thais were infected so far this year. That number could be cut by 60 percent if people regularly sought screening for HIV and if people infected were immediately treated, before progressing to severe immune deficiency, said Praphan. Despite his call for routine HIV testing, Praphan said employers should end compulsory HIV testing of job applicants.

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Parents also need to be brought into the prevention loop, providing youths proper information and counseling, said Kiratika Pangsad of the Family Network Foundation. "We found that most parents lack understanding about the HIV infection and don't know how to tell their kids about safe sex," she said. "We want to encourage them to open their minds and learn more about sex education, as they can talk with their children [and warn them about the disease]."

Back to other news for December 2008

Adapted from:
The Nation (Thailand)
12.18.2008


  
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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.
 
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