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Lancet. 1990 Mar 31;335(8692):781-2.

Thailand: AIDS crisis looms.



Although Thailand's Ministry of Public Health has recorded slightly under 15,000 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to date, an independent team of health and medical experts has estimated that 200,000-300,000 Thais are infected. Moreover, the team has predicted that 1.6 million people--2.5% of the population--will be infected by 1995 in the absence of an aggressive, immediate prevention campaign. When AIDS 1st emerged in Thailand in the mid-1980s, it was largely restricted to homosexual prostitutes who came into contact with foreign men in gay bars. Soon, however, HIV infections was spreading rapidly among intravenous drug abusers and the infection rate among this group is currently estimated to be 45%. Another heavily affected group has been poorly paid prostitutes who work in Thailand's brothels; rates of 44-70% infectivity have been recorded among these women. Most recently, HIV infection has shown signs of entering the general population. Of the recorded cases of HIV infection in Chiang Mai, 59% involve prostitutes, 17% are workers, 6% are civil servants, 7% are students, and 2% are housewives. The sex ratio of HIV-infected persons has changed from 17 males per 1 female in 1986 to 5 males for every 1 female in 1989. Since the change in government in 1988, Thailand has stepped up AIDS education and information dissemination activities and condom use has increased by as much as 70%. Given the gravity of the situation, however, assistance from the World Bank and United Nations agencies in addition to the World Health Organization are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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