BANGKOK, Aug 25 — Research by UNICEF Thailand showed that the number of infected HIV patients in Thailand has risen among teenagers, especially those who are homosexual men, sex workers, and drug injectors.
UNICEF Thailand HIV/AIDS head, Robert Gass speaking about the study carried out to analyse the situation and factors affect HIV infection among Thai youth said the study was done on 2,000 youths of homosexual or transgender orientation, prostitutes, migrant labourers, and youths addicted to drugs through injection living in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Songkhla and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.
The study was done by Thammasat University with funding by UNICEF Thailand, through interviews and random sampling with pilot samples, aiming to learn about risk factors affecting youth, as well as revising policies and services given to the groups.
Mr Gass said the groups are most at risk of becoming infected with HIV and other Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) because they lack skills and/or knowledge to prevent risks, and their high consumption of alcohol and drugs increases the risk factors.
Besides, he said, social media and easier access to social media sites via mobile phone applications has allowed the youths to easily meet each other and have casual sexual relations.
The study referred to the national statistics that 41 per cent of HIV cases in Thailand came from sex among homosexual men, which further indicated that their sexual relations begin at an earlier age than sex among heterosexuals.