Public officials, educators and health professionals throughout Chonburi marked World AIDS Day with parades, free condoms and information to curtail the spread of a disease that has seen resurgence in the province.
Every year the World Health Organization designates Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day with this year’s theme again being “Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise.” Organizers promoted a message of “universal access and human rights” with the emphasis being placed on raising awareness to the risks of contracting the disease.
Chonburi Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit leads a rally of students and teachers at Eastern Technology College with lecturers invited to provide the latest information on the disease.
“Discrimination needs to be eliminated and the human rights of HIV and AIDS patients protected,” Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said as he kicked off the march down Beach Road through to Walking Street.
Itthiphol led the march to hand out condoms from Soi 4 to Walking Street amid a colorful procession of floats and fancy dresses.
“That so many people in Pattaya participate in events like this is a good sign that the public and private sector understand the significance of AIDS prevention and take part in the campaign to prevent its spread.”
In Chonburi, Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit led a rally of students and teachers at Eastern Technology College with lecturers invited to provide the latest information on the disease - first discovered in Thailand in 1984 - and preventative steps people should take to avoid being infected with HIV, which leads to AIDS.
From the year the first case was detected in 1986, Chonburi has seen 12,650 AIDS cases. After several years of declines, due largely to widespread condom-use promotion, infections increased again this year with 1,185 new cases reported through Nov. 15.
Cases were almost equally split between men and women, but nearly 65 percent of the cases affected those ages 20-39.
Wichit said AIDS among younger age groups is particularly worrisome and said youths need more exposure to safe sex campaigns and information.
Chonburi Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit and friends distribute free condoms.
Marchers in the AIDS Day parade hand out condoms.
Since most new AIDS cases affect youths aged 20-39, it is important that schools become in involved in spreading the message before it’s too late.