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Resurgence of AIDS in Thailand overshadows UNAIDS summit

News of the resurgence of AIDS in Thailand, blamed on the proliferation of dating apps, has dismayed many. Historically, Thailand has one of the best records of all countries in the region in caring for people living with AIDS.

The government is now setting out to eradicate AIDS in Thailand by 2030, according to deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul on Thursday, World Aids Day.

In 2018, there were around 480,000 people living with HIV in Thailand, with 75% having access to treatment.

According to the Department of Disease Control (DDC), there were 6,500 new HIV infections in Thailand last year, which translates to about 18 new cases per day. DDC chief Tares Krassanairawiwong said up to 97% of new cases were caused by unprotected sex.

The government rests its AIDS control strategy on three principles — no infections, no fatalities, and no stereotyping.

The hope is to bring the number of new infections down to about 1,000 per year.

The long road to zero: Thailand strives to eliminate HIV infection | Phnom Penh Post News of the resurgence of AIDS in Thailand has dismayed activists. The government is now setting out to eradicate AIDS in Thailand by 2030.
There were 6,500 new HIV infections in Thailand last year, with a surge in cases among young people.

According to a 2019 survey, about a quarter of Thais still have a negative attitude toward people living with HIV. The government wants to eliminate any stigma about AIDS and HIV-positive people by renewing an old message that has been forgotten – the importance of using protection and regular HIV testing.

This month Thailand is to host the 51st UNAIDS summit. The kingdom will host the meeting at Chiang Rai with the support of member nations, NGOs and sponsors.

Thailand will be highlighting its HIV prevention and treatment programs under the nation’s health security scheme, equitable access to integrated preventative and inclusive treatments, and the non-discriminatory and non-labelling approach for HIV patients.

As this year’s host, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul stressed the need to inform people about the need to use protection during sex.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career, Jon is now semi-retired, living in a quiet village in Krabi province, Thailand. He continues to write and is an avid traveler and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.