BANGKOK, Oct 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Bare-chested
male models strutted by a glitzy ballroom in Bangkok to
the kick of residence song while dozens of immature happy organisation waited
anxiously, operative adult a haughtiness to have a blood test.
BANGKOK, Oct 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Bare-chested
The mostly womanlike health organisation holding samples seemed
incongruous subsequent to a shirtless models encircling a party, but
the health workers’ participation during a TestBKK event, Thailand’s
first mass HIV contrast for gays, was promulgation a absolute message.
Over a past decade, HIV has widespread fast among happy men,
transgender people and masculine sex workers in Bangkok to reach
epidemic levels, fuelled partly by larger use of unlawful party
drugs that make people reduction discreet about sex, experts said.
Once touted as an HIV success story, Thailand is now faced
with infection rates in a happy race allied to those
in Africa’s AIDS prohibited spots.
Waking adult to a scale of a problem, Thai authorities have
embarked on a debate to lift recognition about HIV and
encourage contrast among those many during risk: organisation who have sex
with organisation and transgender people.
Frits outpost Griensven, an HIV researcher and confidant to the
Thai Red Cross, pronounced a beginning to concentration on this pivotal group
was a certain step and long-awaited confirmation that
Thailand – that successfully tackled HIV/AIDS in a 1990s -
had unsuccessful to keep adult with a widespread of a pathogen into certain
“For a supervision to take a mount in this widespread and
stand adult for a rights of a minority population, we suspicion this
was a vast move,” outpost Griensven told a Thomson Reuters
Foundation in an talk during his home in Bangkok.
He pronounced it was usually in a past year that Thai authorities
had started to take this severely and concentration on HIV (human
immunodeficiency virus) impediment in Thailand’s happy community.
Perhaps a biggest step in a debate was in Mar last
year with a recover of discipline on how to forestall a spread
of HIV in organisation who have sex with organisation and transgender people. The
guidelines came scarcely 30 years after a initial AIDS box was
diagnosed in a happy Thai man.
“It’s a small late, though it’s improved than never,” pronounced van
Griensven, welcoming moves to take contrast to happy communities.
RISE OF HIV
This month Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health began
offering giveaway drugs to all HIV patients to enhance diagnosis and
put them underneath a state’s monitoring system.
Data from 2013 estimates Thailand has 450,000 people living
with HIV/AIDS, though usually 353,000 have entrance to life-saving
Thailand’s vast happy community, that strictly numbers
about 560,000, or 3 percent of organisation aged 15 to 49, is now seen to
be during risk of HIV. Van Griensven believes this figure
underestimates a genuine series of happy organisation in a country, and
7.5 percent, or about 1 million of a 66 million population,
would be closer.
In 2003, while operative with a U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s (CDC) section in Thailand, outpost Griensven
collected information display 17.3 percent of 1,121 Thai organisation in Bangkok
bars, saunas and pick-up spots tested certain for HIV.
The conditions has worsened given with studies display about
30 percent of all organisation who have sex with organisation in Bangkok are HIV
positive. In 2013, gays, transgender people and masculine sex workers
accounted for 41 percent of all new HIV infections in Thailand.
Timothy Holtz, executive of an HIV-focused programme run
jointly by a CDC and Thai Ministry of Public Health, pronounced the
HIV widespread among happy organisation “really is an puncture situation”.
“The usually place we unequivocally see high rates like that are in
the hardest strike areas among a generalized HIV epidemics in
sub-Saharan Africa,” Holtz pronounced in an talk during a CDC-run
Silom Community Clinic during Mahidol University’s Hospital for
“It’s not utterly as high as it is in some unequivocally high-risk
populations in southern Africa, such as in immature women of
child-bearing age in South Africa, though it’s still very
According to UNAIDS, scarcely one in 5 South Africans aged
15-49 are HIV positive.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
Thailand was once deliberate to be in a vanguard of the
fight opposite HIV.
After a country’s initial AIDS cases were diagnosed among
Thai and unfamiliar happy and bisexual organisation in a mid-1980s, the
epidemic took off, swelling by a country’s large sex
industry, their clients and afterwards a men’s wives and babies.
In a 1990s, 35.5 percent of womanlike sex workers across
Thailand had HIV.
Then Thailand launched a condom use debate targeting
prostitutes and their clients, as good as antiretroviral
treatment to forestall HIV delivery from profound women to
their babies, that cut a estimated series of people infected
each year to 8,100 in 2013 from 143,000 in 1991.
But over a past decade a numbers have started to rise
again among certain groups, with many happy organisation reluctant to be
tested, desiring stupidity is HIV-free bliss.
At Silom Community Clinic, a CDC’s intentional counselling
and contrast centre for organisation who have sex with organisation founded by van
Griensven, 46 percent of organisation who travel in have never been tested.
“That’s unequivocally high. When you’ve got roughly half of an
at-risk race who’s never been tested, that needs to
change,” Holtz said, adding that happy organisation in Thailand should get
tested during slightest once a year, if not some-more often.
Somsak Akksilp, emissary executive ubiquitous of a dialect of
disease control during a Thai health ministry, pronounced spreading
awareness by normal media does not work with younger
generations and overdo has to be clearly destined during happy men.
“They never watch television. They never review newspapers. So
how can they get messages from supervision or open services?”
Somsak said. “We should have some-more mobile clinics or outreach
units to offer them in a places available for them.”
Testing is vicious since recognition has unsuccessful to delayed the
epidemic, according to Piyathida Smutraprapoot, AIDS arch for
the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.
“If people know their status, they can learn how to prevent
the widespread to others,” she told a Thomson Reuters Foundation
at a TestBKK eventuality that captivated about 100 people.
The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (Apcom),
the Bangkok-based advocacy organisation behind TestBKK, after told
Thomson Reuters Foundation that 8 out of 76 organisation tested at
the eventuality were found to be HIV positive.
Van, a 24-year-old NGO staffer who asked to be identified
only by his nickname, had his third HIV exam during a event. His
first exam followed a infrequent hook-up. Van is now in a steady
relationship though stays uncertain if he is protected from a virus.
“With my boyfriend, we trust him to an border – 99 percent.
Even if he strays, we told him: ‘Please strengthen yourself’.”
(Reporting by Alisa Tang, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith.)