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15 Jul 2013

Spread of HIV in Bangkok has become an 'explosive epidemic': Health authorities

The Bangkok Post last week quoted a health report that said that increasing number of HIV infections are among "white collar, professional and well-educated" gay men.

Adam's Love is a Thai campaign targeting gay and bisexual men.

A study conducted by the Public Health Ministry and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration have found that long-term statistics from at-risk MSM visiting the Silom Community Clinic has shown a steady increase in HIV infection in the MSM group increase from 24.6% (51 out of 207 men) in 2005 to 29.4% in 2011. The report also cited an emerging risk factor to be the use of methamphetamine, or crystal ice, to prolong sexual intercourse.

The Bangkok Post reported on 7 Jul 2013:

Thirty-four-year-old Ball met his partner Sonchai at high school and the pair started living openly as a gay couple when they roomed together at university.

But eight years ago, Ball, who had been monogamous and loving in the relationship, was shocked to learn his partner had not been. Sonchai had infected Ball with HIV.

"I have only had one sexual partner for 10 years. I was with my boyfriend for more than 10 years," he said.

"I thought we had a really healthy relationship until one day I became very ill. I went to see the doctor and he found that I had TB and oral thrush.

"Then the doctor asked me to test for HIV. I was shocked when I found out I had tested positive.

"I told my partner and he confessed that he was fooling around and having unprotected sex with other people. He told me that he attended many group sex parties and sometimes he did not use a condom. So I took him to see the doctor to get tested and he also tested positive."

Ball's case is typical of a worrying trend of increasing HIV infections in the MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) category described by a 2012 paper as an "explosive epidemic" in Bangkok.

The report – a joint effort by the Public Health Ministry and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration – based its findings on at-risk men visiting the Silom Community Clinic near Bangkok's red light district for gay and bisexual men.

Despite the perception that those visiting the clinic were restricted to sex workers and their cruising clients, Timothy Holtz, director of the Health Ministry's HIV/STD Research Programme, said many of them were regular men. "From 2005 to 2012, we had 6,526 clients who made 23,600 visits to our clinic," Dr Holtz said. "This group of MSM people, who are regular white collar people ... come to the clinic for free HIV testing as well as other kinds of sexually transmitted diseases, counselling and treatment support."

The report further highlighted that men aged under 24 as the highest risk group for new infections due to factors such as living away from a family home, having more sex than older men, drug taking for sexual pleasure and inconsistent condom use.


Reader's Comments

1. 2013-07-16 17:39  
it is the matter of creativities, why gay like bb? and how to replace this interesting activities?
why are u getting freezing? don't u smart?
draw map-problem and solution
ask gay, why they like BB, why they interested in?

I met one gay who always want to fuck BB,He had very big cock
did he paid to spread?

i did not get fucked for months but ok..coz i replace it by another activities i like
just create activities for gay become love them and happy
Can u?

2. 2013-07-16 17:41  
tragic! I'm sorry for Sonchai and Ball, wish them everything well & hope that like smallpox- AIDS & HIV will be eradicated. Let's make it happen, everything starts with wishful thinking, this website, this message, the computer I'm sending it from, the computer you're reading it from. The distance between impossible and possible is discipline + effort. WE CAN DO IT! WE WILL DO IT!
3. 2013-07-16 18:58  
I love Bkk & Thailand more than any place in the world, these stats are very bad, come on guys, use condoms to help the prevention of HIV & sti's.

Love you BKK guys

4. 2013-07-18 00:12  
LOL I knew this fact even though Ive never been to the regions

and not a big deal for me..

one of them is cheating on his partner lol

I don't believe that both had never have affairs with other one.

especially in their whole life , no matter before or how long u have been

in healthy relationship, unless u've kept always with condoms.

I would rather belive that Ive just sat down lavatory once in Wall mart.

and suddenly as the result of lately testing about AIDS Ive got the

positive one

T T its famous for dirty play between HK , Thiland, etc.
Comment edited on 2013-07-18 00:21:09
Comment #5 was deleted by its author on 2013-07-18 00:16
Comment #6 was deleted by its author on 2013-07-18 00:16
Comment #7 was deleted by its author on 2013-07-18 00:15
Comment #8 was deleted by its author on 2013-07-18 00:16
Comment #9 was deleted by its author on 2013-07-18 00:16
10. 2013-07-18 06:12  
HIV/ AIDS topic was around way too long. It is shame so many people gay or not affected by it. Actually I seen many very healthy-looking guys (you would NEVER EVER guess they are HIV+) who are totally on the edge of mental meltdown and suicide because of all the stigma that comes attached to this infection. I hope that solution for HIV, a permanent fix and whatnot is not too far away but all in all there is always much worse and much deadlier things like Hep C, so boys really use your head. The one that on your shoulders, I mean.
11. 2013-07-20 17:10  
I hate to say this .. but Fridae's editor's have been duped by this story just like the Bangkok Post was.
"Thirty-four-year-old Ball met his partner Sonchai at high school and the pair started living openly as a gay couple when they roomed together at university ...." is a Very Very old story made-up story (insert Adam & Steve) that has been told and re-told over and over since they started blaming HIV on the activities of promiscuous gay men.
The idea on the "innocent partner" story is a old as time. "It was my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife .. he cheated on me" has been used forever as a dodge for this. Has it ever happen, Yes .. I am sure it has, but not in the numbers that are claimed.
Everyone who becomes infected is innocent .. A virus doesn't care about anyone or anything .. its two strands of protein.
#ddarko .. Hopefully there is a light shinning brighter recently. The SAV-001 vaccine study is going well (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/sav001-hiv-vaccine-side-effects-adverse_n_2102593.html). Maybe someday will be sooner than we think
12. 2013-07-22 12:05  
In my country, this phenomena mostly happened to the housewives. They confessed to be monogamous (only have sex with their one husband). They could not refuse to have a bareback intercourse and that's why they like resigned to get infected with HIV.

In my opinion, message to have protected intercourse is needed but still not enough to solve the problem. What actually we need is routine test for HIV and STD. And as gay we are categorized as high-risk population, we needed to be tested per 3 month, bring our partner/s too. Don't wait any longer or think innocent.

And HIV-AIDS or STD are no longer to be scared like past years. Nowadays, the drugs (ARV) are available and free in many developing countries (even some developing countries already provide free counseling and personal assistance).

Now, it is not the right time to be innocent but to be brave. Brave to have the test whatever the result might be!
Comment edited on 2013-07-24 08:11:12

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