HIV in Thailand

With more than 120 000 sex workers over streets and hotels, Thailand is one of the most popular countries in Asia when it comes to prostitution. Having that many sex workers maintain the spread of sexual diseases such as HIV.

What is HIV?

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, it interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease.

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.

HIV presence in Thailand

Here are some statistics regarding HIV presence nowadays in Thailand :

  • About 440 000 people live in Thailand with HIV.
  • There are approximately 6 000 new cases referred each year (It is declining).
  • 15 000 people die from HIV ( AIDS actually ) each year.
  • Approximatively 80 % of infected people are following the antiretroviral treatment.

Groups with high risks

Statistically, the HIV prevalence among sex workers is about 1 % of women, 12 % of men and 14 % of transgenders who are infected.

Besides sex workers, the highest risks-groups are homosexual men, transgenders and drug addicts. The prevalence is about 19 % for the people who do inject drugs.

How to prevent it?

Actually, the thing that makes so many people being infected in Thailand is due to a lack of knowledge. Especially, in the sex industry since it is mostly poor people who didn’t receive a good education and thus are not aware of those kinds of virus. For instance, only 32 % of transgenders have sufficient knowledge about sexual disease which explains why so many of them are infected.

To prevent it at a country’s scale, knowledge and education must be the top priority to slow down the virus spread and one day killing it for good.

At an individual scale, protect yourself while having sex, making regular sexual disease check (twice a year at least) and if being positive then treat yourself as soon as possible, the earlier it is treated the better and safer it is.

To summarize, HIV has a high presence in Thailand because of its prostitution network which makes it spread quickly. However, it is mostly due to a lack of knowledge from people into this industry, the more aware those people will be, the less HIV case will be referred.


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