The Medical Council of Thailand recently proposed a new regulation that would allow teenagers younger than age 18 to receive no-cost HIV tests without parental consent, the Bangkok Post reports. The council also is planning to draft a regulation that would allow teens to keep their medical records confidential.
Pairote Boonsirikamchai, assistant secretary-general of the council, said the new regulation would provide no-cost HIV testing and counseling for teens but that a shortage of clinics could limit the program. According to the Post, the council plans to encourage testing among teenagers by working with the National Health Security Office to make testing and counseling available at hospitals and clinics nationwide under Thailand's universal health care system.
Medical researchers, teenagers, parent and teacher networks, and lawyers at a public hearing in December 2008 said that inadequate HIV prevention efforts led to a recent increase in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases among teens from 14,000 in 2007 to 20,000 in 2008. A poll conducted last year by the Thai Youth Network Against HIV/AIDS found that 86% of youth supported the proposal (Apiradee, Bangkok Post, 2/23).
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