Thai Government Launches Program To Distribute Antiretroviral Drugs to 50,000 People
The Thai government on Wednesday launched a program to provide antiretroviral drugs to 50,000 HIV-positive people in the country, the Associated Press reports. The program has a budget of nearly $25 million, according to Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan. The new program, which will target postpartum women and children, will provide drugs first to people who show mild symptoms of HIV. However, all HIV-positive children less than one year old will receive the drugs regardless of their symptoms (Associated Press, 10/1). The program is expected to reach about 10% of the estimated one million HIV-positive people in the country, according to a health department report (Xinhua News Agency, 10/1). Thailand's Government Pharmaceutical Organization manufactures low-cost generic versions of antiretroviral drugs (Associated Press, 10/1). In addition, in order to address the spread of HIV at the Thai-Myanmar border, the Thai government on Sunday announced that it would provide one million condoms and locally made antiretroviral drugs to Myanmar. Keyuraphan announced the new initiative after meeting with Myanmar's Health Minister Kyaw Myint in Thailand to discuss health conditions in the two nations, especially along the border. As trade in the region has increased, HIV has spread near border towns; 46,000 people in the Myanmar border town of Tachilek in March tested positive for HIV, Keyuraphan said. Myanmar has also agreed to promote a 100% condom use program in the country (Bangkok Post, 9/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.