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You, Me & HIV - Thailand
Achara’s worry for her friend Aroon is well founded, as men who have sex with men (MSM) are a vulnerable group and at risk of HIV in Thailand. In fact, 41 percent of HIV infections are among MSM in the country.1
Aroon has been drinking lots of alcohol lately, which is known to impair people’s judgements and can lead to high-risk sex such as unprotected sex. This is the case with Aroon - he forgot to use a condom when he had sex with someone last night.
Thankfully he is within the 72-hour limit of being able to take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is a course of antiretroviral drugs that is taken for six weeks after the possible exposure to HIV. PEP is shown to be very effective in preventing HIV infection from establishing in a person’s body, giving their immune system a chance to fight it off.
Thailand was once applauded for the steps it took to combat its national HIV epidemic, in particular the spearheading of a number of successful HIV prevention campaigns. However in recent years, funding has been channelled towards HIV treatment as opposed to prevention. As such, worrying trends have arisen, including increased inconsistent condom use; increased sexual partners; and decreased knowledge about HIV. This is particularly notable amongst young people, highlighting the importance of HIV education at a young age.2
For more information on HIV, why not check out our young people section.
- 1. UNDP (2012) ‘Country Snapshots – Thailand. HIV and men who have sex with men’
- 2. UNGASS (2012) 'Thailand: Global AIDS Response Country Progress Report'