Teens under 18 years old can now have their blood screened for the HIV/Aids virus without having to obtain prior permission from their parents.
Prof Somsak Lolekha, a consultant at the Medical Council of Thailand, said that a subcommittee appointed by the council to study the matter made a recommendation to the same effect, but it also suggested strong counselling in such cases both before and after the test results were made available to them.
"HIV/Aids blood screening if carried out voluntarily will yield great benefits to the teens themselves. If they wish to have their blood checked, then we will do it for them but this must be done in places where there are counsellors to give them proper advice and recommendations. These teenagers have the right to decide whether or not to tell their parents about this procedure and their information will be treated extremely confidential," explained Prof Somsak, adding that in the past teens who wanted to have their blood tested after sexual intercourse had to obtain permission from their parents. Unfortunately, they never returned for the actual test.
Counsellors have a very crucial role to play in providing teenagers with guidance, especially regarding what they need to do after they know the test results.
This is to prevent suicidal tendency among teens in case of positive results and at the same time equip them with knowledge about how to avoid HIV infection in cases where tests prove negative.