Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket Number One in HIV/Aids nationwide: MoPH

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET CITY: Phuket has the highest incidence of HIV/Aids infection of Thailand’s 76 provinces, but the figures are skewed by the island’s huge migrant population, the island’s top government doctor says.

Dr Pongsawat Rattanasaeng, director of the Phuket Public Health office, said Phuket’s emergence as a top tourist destination is largely responsible for the province’s dubious distinction as Thailand’s ‘per capita’ leader in HIV/Aids.

Migrant workers from all parts of the country make their way here to work in Phuket, but are never registered as residents of the province.

Those who contract HIV and test positive at government hospitals in the province are counted among Phuket’s HIV/Aids cases, he explained.

Phuket’s official population is listed at around 330,000, but government estimates put the number of Thai people living here at about double that amount.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) calculates instance rates of ‘cases per 100,000 members of the population’ for comparative purposes. The problem comes when the number of cases derived from the actual population is divided by the much lower ‘official’ population.

Only HIV cases involving Thai nationals are included in the MoPH statistics, he explained.

The MoPH keeps separate records for cases involving migrant workers from neighboring states. Most of these return home, but there are currently about 20 being treated for HIV/Aids in Phuket, he said.

Legally-registered migrant workers from Burma, Laos and Cambodia are eligible for treatment under the government’s universal health care program initiated by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Dr Pongsawat said that to mark December 1, World AIDS Day, the provincial government launched a number of public awareness campaigns to better inform people about how to prevent contracting HIV – and what to do if they test positive. Many of the activities involve youths, as they are deemed at high risk.

Systematic government HIV/Aids tracking statistics in Thailand began 20 years ago, in 1989.

From then until October 2009, reports from hospitals and clinics in Phuket revealed 6,648 cases of HIV infection, with 1,767 fatalities, Dr Pongsawat said.

There are currently 3,813 people undergoing HIV/Aids treatment in the province. Of these, just 805 are symptomatic. The ratio of male-to-female cases is about 2:1, he said.

Most patients are in the 25-39 age bracket and those infected identified themselves as working in a variety of professions including ‘workers for hire’ and housekeepers – as well as the unemployed.

Despite the statistical inaccuracy in the reporting mechanism, Phuket is still relatively high-risk for HIV/Aids infection, Dr Pongsawat said.

“Our research has revealed there are more than 7,000 sex workers in Phuket and these are at particularly high risk,” he said.

The number of tourists who visit Phuket, some of whom carry the virus, also contribute to the problem, he said.

Every concerned agency must work harder to help minimize the HIV/Aids problem, Dr Pongsawat said.

— The Nation & Stephen Michael Fein

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

World1 min ago

China announces cryptocurrency trading is illegal

North East13 mins ago

Stolen 72 year old elephant returned to owner after 18 years

Thailand1 hour ago

Pattaya readjusts tourism goals for high season

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand2 hours ago

Phuket relaxes checkpoint requirements to help tourists and health officials

Phuket2 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 2 deaths, 4 Sandbox infections, 10k total cases

Thailand3 hours ago

Facebook page that claims to sell dog meat met with scorn on social media

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand welcomes its first AI influencer, “AI Ailynn”

Thailand5 hours ago

Umbrellas out, more monsoonal rain in the wake of ‘Dianmu’

Thailand6 hours ago

Sunday Covid update: 125 deaths and 12,353 new cases

Thailand15 hours ago

Record-breaking 1 million Covid-19 vaccines given yesterday

Technology18 hours ago

Junk messages must now be blocked by Thai mobile carriers

Kanchanaburi19 hours ago

Abusive Kanchanaburi temple rehab centre ordered to close.

Phuket20 hours ago

Phuket begins new subdermal injection method for vaccines

Bangkok21 hours ago

Police bust hotel party with ecstasy and ketamine, 59 arrested

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Phuket Covid-19: 5 new deaths and 4 new Sandbox infections

Tourism4 days ago

Travel data to Thailand for 106 million people unprotected online

Economy6 days ago

Cuts to import duty on alcohol, cigars, part of plan to entice wealthy foreigners

Crime5 days ago

OnlyFans content creators arrested by Thai police on pornography charges

Thailand5 days ago

Party at luxury villa in Phuket raided, homeowner allegedly assaults police officer

Coronavirus Vaccines6 days ago

Doctors say cardiac arrest caused death of man given AstraZeneca booster shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Covid-19: Detailed info on vaccinations, hospitalisations, and provinces

Thailand6 days ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok5 days ago

Governor says Bangkok will only re-open when safe to do so

Phuket3 days ago

Police suddenly began raiding Patong bars selling alcohol

Thailand5 days ago

Bangkok re-opening Criteria, Thai Airways keeps Struggling | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 93

Pattaya4 days ago

October Pattaya reopening on schedule according to mayor

Crime4 days ago

Ex-cop “Joe Ferrari,” other officers charged with violating discipline policy over suspect’s death

Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Phuket7 days ago

Phuket domestic travel rules need streamlining, officials discuss

Thailand5 days ago

Government warns that posting pornographic material is illegal following OnlyFans creator being questioned by police

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending