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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 11(2)

Biomedical HIV prevention research and epidemic control in Thailand: two sides of the same coin

Frits van Griensven A B C E , Nittaya Phanuphak A and Kriengkrai Srithanaviboonchai D

A Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center, 104 Rajadamri Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
B HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration, 104 Rajadamri Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
C Division of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, 50 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.
D Research Institute for Health Sciences and Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, 110 Intavaroros Road, Sriphum, Muang Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.
E Corresponding author. Email: fritsvg@trcarc.org

Sexual Health 11(2) 180-199 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH13119
Submitted: 6 August 2013  Accepted: 10 March 2014   Published: 8 July 2014


 
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Abstract

For a country with a moderate adult HIV prevalence of just over 1% in 2012, Thailand is widely perceived as having made some extraordinary contributions to the global management of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It has been promoted as a model of effective HIV control and applauded for its leadership in providing access to antiretroviral treatment. Thailand has also received international recognition for its contribution to biomedical HIV prevention research, which is generally perceived as exceptional. In this paper, Thailand’s global role model function as an example of effective HIV/AIDS control and high-quality biomedical HIV prevention research is re-evaluated against the background of currently available data and more recent insights. The results indicate that Thailand’s initial response in raising the level of the political significance of HIV/AIDS was indeed extraordinary, which probably prevented a much larger epidemic from occurring. However, this response transpired in unusual extraconstitutional circumstances and its effectiveness declined once the country returned to political normalcy. Available data confirm the country’s more than exceptional contribution to biomedical HIV prevention research. Thailand has made a huge contribution to the global management and control of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Additional keywords: antiretroviral treatment, condom use, injecting drug users, prophylaxis, sex workers, vaccination.


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