HIV infections among gay men on rise
- Published: 1/12/2012 at 12:47 PM
- Online news:
The HIV infection rate among male homosexuals has increased by 11% over the past 24 years, according to the Public Health Ministry.
On the occasion of World Aids Day, Dr Narong Sahametapat, the ministry's permanent secretary, announced the goal to reduce the new infection rate to zero by 2016.
World Aids Day is held every December 1 to draw attention to the widespread impact of HIV/Aids and work to curb the spread of infections.
Last month, the United Nations released a report saying that the end of Aids could soon be an actuality, calling it "entirely feasible", Reuters reported.
A report from UNAids last week showed that over the past decade, the rate of new infections among adults aged 15-49 had dropped by more than 50% in 25 low- and middle-income countries including Thailand.
The cumulative number of infected patients in Thailand is nearly 1.16 million with more than 695,000 deaths since HIV/Aids was first discovered in the 1980s.
Dr Narong pointed out that about 62% of cases of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections were in sex workers, injected drug users and gay men.
He also expressed concern for the latter group, saying that the infection rate among homosexual males rose by 11% between 1987 and 2011 and may top other high-risk groups within 12 years.
He also said the anal cancer diagnosis rate among gay men was 35 per 100,000 people compared with only 0.8 to 100,000 for the overall population.
Dr Rossaphorn Kittiyawamarn, a researcher with the Department of Disease Control, said HIV test statistics collected between January 2007 and April 2008 showed that 118 men out of 174 people seeking the test had HIV. As well, 40 of those infected or 33.9% had abnormal anal cells.
She is urging all men to wear condoms before having sexual intercourse and to regularly get tested for HIV.
Even though there is not yet a definitive cure for Aids, significant progress has been made in controlling infection, preventing its spread, and decreasing deaths from Aids.
Last week US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced an ambitious new drive to create an "Aids-free generation".
"Make no mistake about it – HIV may well be with us into the future, but the disease that it causes need not be," she said.
Advances in science and technology have now made it possible for the next generation to be Aids-free, said Mrs Clinton.
Babies need not be born with HIV infection as drug regimes can prevent transmission of the virus from the mother at birth, and adults with HIV can receive treatment which keeps them well and stops them infecting their partners, she added.
About the author
Writer: Online Reporters