Asian Health Care Workers Looking to Thailand for HIV Prevention Model
Thailand, which has cut its HIV incidence 83% since the early 1990s through a nationwide prevention program, "is emerging as a learning center for developing countries in Asia" that are facing widening HIV/AIDS epidemics, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The number of people testing HIV-positive in Thailand last year fell to 23,676, down from a high of 142,819 in 1991, according to the Thai government. Thailand's efforts to prevent the spread of HIV -- particularly the promotion of 100% condom use in its sex industry and the involvement of Buddhist monks -- have "won international praise," according to the Monitor. Chiang Mai University in the nothern part of the country has attracted health care workers from countries around the region -- such as Afghanistan, East Timor and Sri Lanka -- to take part in HIV/AIDS prevention training courses. Public health experts say that countries at risk for an AIDS epidemic can adopt Thailand's strategies of "early intervention and pragmatic policies for illicit activities," such as injection drug use, the Monitor reports. In addition, grassroots community activism, faith-based responses and the removal of stigma surrounding the disease have played a role in Thailand's success in fighting HIV/AIDS, according to the Monitor (Montlake, Christian Science Monitor, 11/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.