Deputy Public Health Minister Manit Nop-amornbodi said that the ‘White Valentine ? design your love’ campaign will encourage young people to have an appropriate fun, and a good time, without seeking so-called ‘love’ in sexual activities.
‘Teenagers worldwide have become a (critical) risk group for HIV/AIDS infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. So it’s crucial to raise understanding among young people that HIV-AIDS infection is possible if they don’t protect themselves’, the deputy public health minister.
According to the annual report of the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 33.2 million people around the world with HIV-AIDS in 2007, 2.1 million of whom have already died.
The report also forecast that the number of HIV-infected teenagers, aged 15 to 24, will increase by 40 per cent, mainly in the developing and underdeveloped countries. In Thailand, the Bureau of Epidemiology reported that during the past 25 years, 345,196 Thais have been infected by the deadly virus, 93,034 of whom have died.
Eighty-four per cent of people with AIDS were infected through sexual intercourse. The number of new HIV cases is likely to rise to 11,753 and most new cases will be teenagers.
Dr. Somchai Chakrabhand, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, said that according to the department’s HIV infection monitoring project from 2004 to 2007, the number of high school students having sexual experiences has increased constantly, while the proportion of students who use condoms to protect themselves and their partners while having sex is still low. In 2007 the number of people infected by sexually transmitted diseases also increased.
Of 11,619 patients, most of them aged between 20 and 24, were infected by gonorrhea, non-gonococcal urethritis and syphilis, respectively. ‘We found also that two students out of every 100,000 in the population have been infected by sexually transmitted diseases’, added Dr. Somchai. (TNA)