The Nation (Bangkok) External Web Site Policy, (11.16.2012)
Dr. Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, director of the Department of Disease Control, Thailand, has stated that parents should allow their daughters of high school age to carry two condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and teenage pregnancy. Dr. Siriwanarangsan cited results of a study showing that 20 percent of Mathayom 2 students (approximately aged 13 years) and 40 percent of Mathayom 5 students (approximately aged 15 years), and 50–60 percent of vocational students (aged 15 to 17 years) are sexually active. He added that 42 percent of persons with STDs were under age 20 years, and these diseases are caused by unprotected sex. Also, 80 percent of youth in this age group become pregnant. He suggested that parents provide their adolescents with two condoms a day. The parents can buy the condoms or acquire them from health offices, as the health department had procured 60 million condoms a year for distribution.
The Thai Red Cross Society’s Secretary General Phaen Wannamethee urged people to get tested for HIV, as Thailand now has 12,000 new HIV infections per year. Wannamethee announced that to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, free blood tests would be available at five malls in Bangkok on November 30 and December 1. Results will be available in one hour. He advised listeners that early detection resulted in early treatment to keep the virus count low and improve longevity.
Pradit Sinthawanarong, public health minister, noted that Thailand had 500,000 HIV-infected persons, but approximately 200,000 persons did not receive treatment because they were not aware of their diagnosis and did not take care of their health until they became ill. He reminded universal healthcare subscribers that they were allowed to take two blood tests a year.