The Bangkok Post reported on Jun 29:
Cases of HIV and syphilis among gay men in Bangkok are on the rise, according to data released by US and Thai health authorities on Friday.
Meanwhile, the annual prevalence of HIV also rose "significantly," from 24.5% in 2005 to 29.4% in 2011 among men who have sex with men (MSM), it said.
"These data show ongoing and increasing epidemics of HIV and syphilis infection among MSM in Bangkok," said the report.
The data came from the Silom Community Clinic, located in a central Bangkok hospital and near entertainment venues for gay men.
The clinic was founded in 2005 by a joint collaboration between the the Public Health Ministry and the US CDC, offering free and confidential tests in an environment "receptive to the health and concerns of the MSM community."
When the team first began collecting data about HIV infections in gay men in Bangkok in 2003, the HIV prevalence was 17%.
By 2005 the HIV prevalence in that group had risen to 28%, and now it is around 30%, said the report.
Do most men attending this clinic present with an STI? Is that the reason they come to the clinic? If so, their risk for acquiring HIV would be higher. Or, have they come simply for HIV screening?
What is the total number of men screened?
Do the data represent all MSM in Bangkok? Probably not.
Condoms reduce risk. Safer sex promotes health. But we must research the reasons why some guys do not practice safer sex and come up with new approaches for promoting health-affirming behaviors.
Sex is great! Safer sex is possible!
I've just now read the full article in the Bangkok Post, something I should have done before writing my comments. The full article explains more fully and answers the questions posed in my earlier post.
I would encourage Fridae to take care in summarizing news articles so as not to omit the most salient points. Also, a more appropriate heading for the Fridae summary could read "gay men who present with STI symptoms".
I hope this is not perceived as criticism; it's simply a helpful suggestion.
Half of what this Bangkok post article is claiming. If 15.6% are already HIV+ by the time they are 21, I don't think it is too difficult to believe that would be 30% for the entire age-spectrum.
BKK, you can keep it!
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