HIV-AIDS is still the biggest health risk in Thailand says a new report exposing the devastating impact of the disease in the country.
The US-based global health research organisation, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has highlighted the ongoing toll of the virus in Thailand despite a strong public health response to tackle the disease.
Report co-author Professor Theo Vos told Asia Pacific, Thailand had succeeded in reducing the number of new cases of HIV-AIDS spread through commercial sex, but there was still more to be done.
The study revealed HIV-AIDS as the leading cause of disease burden in Thailand, responsible for 4.4 per cent of all deaths in the country.
"Thailand is still considered a country with considerable public health progress in containing the epidemic of HIV-AIDS, without that strong response the situation would have been much worse," he said.
"The problem with HIV-AIDS is people live for a considerable time with the disease and therefore you see longer-term effects appearing in the statistics."
Audio: HIV AIDS in Thailand (ABC News)
However Professor Vos says successful treatment of the disease had reduced the number of deaths by almost 60 per cent since 2003.
At its peak the virus affected more than 100,000 young men in the early 90’s, largely young men and drug users, before moving into the public through commercial sex encounters.
"However these young men then started to get married and started to infect their wives, so you saw a third peak of women infected by their husbands," he said.
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