HIV in Thailand

HIV in ThailandHIV was first detected in Thailand in the late 1980s in the IV drug using population. In Bangkok, in late 1987, 1% of IV drug users tested HIV+. By the end of 1988, the rate had increased to 30%. The virus then spread among commercial sex workers, their partners, and families, and rapidly became a critical public health concern for Thailand’s general population. Though the rates of new infection in the general population have varied since the late ’80s, HIV remains a real threat for any Thai practicing high risk behaviors.

After reducing the rates of new HIV-infection among sex workers and their clients through the Thai government’s 100% condom use campaign, Thailand is facing a new rise of infections especially among young people. The Health Ministry in Thailand has noted that the increase rate of HIV infection among teenagers rose during 2002 from 11 to 17%.

YEAR New HIV cases
1991 143,000
2003 19,000
2008 12,787

In 2007 the new Thailand government initiated the 3 year strategic plan on HIV/AIDs with a focus especially on HIV prevention amongst at risk population groups. There are problems however still with policy implantation and a few issues surround the government’s ability to fulfill its goals in the strategic plan.

  • Awareness of HIV status remains low.
  • UNAIDS study suggests that 80% of HIV (+) MSM have never been tested or thought they were HIV (-)
  • 35% of IDUs use non sterile injecting equipment
  • With premarital sex on the increase it has been suggested in an UNDP study that only 20-30% of Thai youth consistently engage in the use of condoms.
Indicator Total Source
Thailand Total Population (2008) 63,884,000 UNICEF
Population Northern Region (2008) 11,602,000 NSO
Population Chiang Mai Municipality (2008) 174,438 NSO
Estimated adult HIV prevalence rate (aged 15–49), (2007) 1.4 UNICEF
Estimated number of people (all ages) living with HIV, 2007 , estimate (2007) 610,000 UNICEF
Paediatric infections, Estimated number of children (aged 0–14) living with HIV, (2007) 14,000 UNICEF
HIV prevalence among young people (aged 15–24), (2007), male 1.2 UNICEF
HIV prevalence among young people (aged 15–24), (2007), female 1.2 UNICEF
% who have comprehensive knowledge of HIV, 2002–2007*, female 46 UNICEF