AIDS virus infection among Thai youths aged between 15-19 is two times higher than the infection rate of youths in the 20-24 age group, said Dr Nittaya Panupark Puengpapong, head of the infection prevention team of the AIDS Research Centre of the Thai Red Cross Society.
The infection rate is especially higher among gay men who have same-sex relationship compared to heterosexual youths, she said, adding that some of the AIDS cases which are not mother-to-child infection are as young as 12 years old.
She disclosed that the Thai Red Cross has cooperated with Unicef to jointly launch a pilot project for trial use of PrEP or Pre-exposure Phophylaxis medication among 2,500 teenagers in 15-19 age group in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Bangkok and Hat Yai.
The trial use is meant to study the ability of youths in taking drugs on regular basis to prevent themselves from contracting AIDS virus and to assess the safety for the use of the drug.
Although there has not been a study about the side effects of the drug toward the functioning of the kidney, Dr Nittaya said that it was discovered that once the use of the drug was stopped, the kindey resumed normal functioning.