Thailand to give condoms to teens to combat HIV

2009-12-01 13:49

THAI girls aged 15 to 19 will be offered 30 million free condoms

next year in a bid to cut down the transmission of the HI virus, Deputy Public

Health Minister Manite Nopamornbodi said today.

Manite said that Thailand had done well in seeking to control the

spread of HIV, yet 30 Thais were still infected with the virus every day.

The condoms would be distributed via health centres across the

country to encourage young women to protect themselves, he added.

The infection rate among girls in their late teens was twice that

of boys because they did not dare refuse sex and felt awkward about demanding

that a condom be used, Manite said.

A UN report published earlier this year praised the government’s

response HIV/Aids in the 1990s, saying Thailand managed to arrest an epidemic

that threatened to spiral out of control with “visionary leadership and

implementation of evidence-informed public health strategies”.

“However, after funding for basic prevention services was slashed

as a result of the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s, HIV incidence

subsequently increased,” UNAids said.

“Having intensified national prevention efforts, Thailand has again

succeeded in reducing HIV incidence in recent years,” the report added.

Manite told the Nation newspaper it was important not to become

complacent about the challenges posed by the virus and that those already

infected should be given sympathy and understanding.


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