Majority of Thai Youth Lack Knowledge About HIV/AIDS, Health Ministry Says
About 77% of young people in Thailand have limited knowledge about HIV/AIDS, the Ministry of Public Health said recently, TNA/MCOT News reports. A surveillance report released last month found that about 321,650 people in the country are living with HIV/AIDS and that half of them are between ages 25 and 34. According the report, most people living with HIV in the country contracted the virus during adolescence and began to show symptoms when they reached adulthood.
About 23% of young men and 26% of young women in Thailand fully understand the development and seriousness of HIV/AIDS, according to a survey on HIV/AIDS knowledge among youth. In addition, a report on risky sexual behavior in the country found that about 50% of Thai youth use condoms during casual sexual encounters. The report also found that the average age among sexually active youth is 15, compared with 18 as indicated in a previous survey. The earlier survey also found that 36% of male students and 28% of female students engage in sexual intercourse.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Paichit Varachit said that changes in the social environment in Thailand have increased concerns about HIV transmission among adolescents. He added that risky sexual behavior could lead to the spread of HIV and unplanned pregnancies. Such issues also will increasingly affect families, communities and the entire country, according to Paichit (TNA/MCOT News, 10/24).