UNAIDS applauds Thailand’s successes on AIDS and urges continued leadership through an ‘HIV prevention revolution’
18 February 2011
On the final day of an official country visit to Thailand, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé praised Thailand’s Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, for his leadership and commitment on AIDS in the country and urged Thailand to redouble efforts—and resources—on HIV prevention.
Underlining the country’s current successes, including significant advances in the provision of antiretroviral treatment and increased access to services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Mr Sidibé urged Thailand to lead an HIV prevention revolution in the Asia region.
Thailand has an outstanding record in the AIDS response which now needs to be taken to the next level
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director
“Thailand has an outstanding record in the AIDS response which now needs to be taken to the next level,” said Mr Sidibé, encouraging Thailand to take the lead and be the first country in the region to make a concrete impact on the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Thailand is known for its effective, rapid and targeted HIV response. Currently 80% of people in need have access to antiretroviral treatment and nearly 97% of pregnant women living with HIV have access to services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The Government of Thailand funds 83% of its national HIV response, but only 14% of the national HIV budget is allocated for HIV prevention.
Prime Minister Abhisit acknowledged that HIV prevention efforts in Thailand need to be rapidly intensified and that they should be clearly focused on key affected populations, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs. He complimented UNAIDS’ bold goal of zero new HIV infections. Stigma and discrimination was highlighted in the meeting as one of the critical barriers in the HIV response, particularly with regard to its impact on people living with HIV and the affected communities. Prime Minister Abhisit also called attention to Thailand’s newly developed harm reduction policy and said that he was taking action to ensure the policy’s implementation across the country, starting in ten provinces.
Underlining his continued commitment to lead on the issue of AIDS, the Prime Minister expressed his interest in playing an active role in the June 2011 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS.
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