Dramatic increase in HIV infection

PHUKET TOWN: Phuket has recorded a horrifying increase in the number of AIDS cases this year. Dr Boonrieng Chuchaisangrat, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office – which has been tracking AIDS infection in Phuket since 1989 – said that between December last year and June this year the number of recorded HIV and AIDS patients in Phuket has risen from 1,177 to 1,347, an increase of 14% in just six months. Unprotected sexual intercourse is thought to be the main cause of the increase. However, this year 97.52% of the island’s prostitutes claim to use condoms, up from 95.29% in December. The ratio of infected men to women is 4 to 1. A major contributing factor to the rise is the number of people afraid of becoming social outcasts if they are diagnosed as carrying HIV. These people fail to submit to tests, and continue to spread the virus. In December 1999, 54.89% of the recorded patients were aged 20 to 39. By June this year, 65.26% were in the 25-to-39 age bracket. Dr Boonrieng believes that within five years, Phuket will suffer societal problems from the growing number of cases. These problems could include orphaned children, and elderly parents losing sons or daughters and thereby being deprived of financial support. Phuket province has the second-highest rate of recorded HIV infection in southern Thailand and the fourth-highest in the Kingdom.

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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