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
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
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.