Medical Council of Thailand Plans To Amend Rule Requiring Teens To Provide Parental Consent Before Receiving HIV Test
Delegates at the Medical Council of Thailand hearing last week unanimously agreed to amend a regulation that requires parental permission for people younger than age 18 to be tested for HIV, the Bangkok Post reports (Apiradee, Bangkok Post, 12/18). Efforts to revise the rule were prompted by an increased number of HIV cases among young people, Samphan Komrit, deputy secretary general of the council, said.
Under current regulations, parental consent is required for medical care, including HIV testing, that is provided at public hospitals for people younger than age 18 (Pongphon, Nation, 12/17). Parental consent is not required for HIV tests administered to teenagers at private clinics; however, the Post reports that there is an insufficient number of such clinics (Bangkok Post, 12/18). In addition, many teens are reluctant to ask their parents' permission to be tested for the virus, according to Kittipan Kanjina, director of the Thai Youth Network on HIV/AIDS.
The hearing aimed to collect information and seek resolutions to revise the rule, Samphan said. He added that the council would revise the rule and increase efforts to improve access to HIV services for teens (Nation, 12/17). It will take a few months to finalize the amendment to the rule, Pairote Boonsirikamchai, assistant secretary general of the council, said.
According to a youth network poll that was released at the hearing, 86% of Thai students agree with the medical council's plan to revise the rule (Bangkok Post, 12/18). About 70% of students said they would not want to tell their parents if they had received an HIV test, regardless of the result (Nation, 12/17). The poll was conducted among 2,000 students younger than age 18 in 20 provinces.
According to the Post, a draft of a separate amendment aimed at revoking a rule that requires some employees to undergo HIV testing is expected to be submitted to the National AIDS Committee next month (Bangkok Post, 12/18).