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HIV/Aids campaign receives 3.2 billion baht boost


The Global Fund to Fight Aids has allocated US$98 million (3.2 billion baht) to continue supporting the anti-HIV/Aids campaign in Thailand for another six years.

The funding will help the country carry on with its HIV/Aids prevention and treatment strategy, and will replace the present budget which runs out in September, said Anupong Chitworakarn, director of the Global Fund in Thailand.

The fund is an independent agency financing the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

It made the decision after rating Thailand's HIV/Aids prevention and treatment work at B+, Dr Anupong said.

Since 2003, the fund has granted more than $138 million (4.5 billion baht) to the Public Health Ministry and the Rak Thai Foundation, a non-profit organisation working on social issues.

However, the government spent most of the money on developing health infrastructure and essential medicine, and little on prevention.

Dr Anupong said the new money would focus more on Aids prevention. Part of the fund would also be set aside to run a television advertising campaign called Yued Ok Pok Thung (Proud To Carry Condoms), which promotes condom use among teenagers, and for the distribution of free condoms.

The campaign includes two new adverts. In one, a husband tells his wife that he had casual sex with several partners. In the other, a teenage girl tells her new boyfriend that she and her ex-boyfriend had several partners before.

Both commercials end with the message that condom use is essential and a commendable thing to do.

The previous Yued Ok Pok Thung campaign was criticised last year by conservative social groups, which said the adverts damaged Thai culture and encouraged teenagers to be sexually active.

Nimit Tienudom, director of the Aids Access Foundation, said he still believed that the commercials would help raise Aids prevention awareness among teens and reduce new HIV/Aids cases in the long run.

Casual and unprotected sex is responsible for the largest number of new HIV/Aids cases. Adults aged 25-29 years are the highest-risk group.

A soaring infection rate among housewives, formerly a low-risk group, was also alarming because they contracted the virus from promiscuous husbands who had casual sex.


Copyright © 2008 -Bangkok Post, Publisher. All rights reserved to The Bangkok Post. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the Bangkok Post.

Information in this article was accurate in June 5, 2008. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.