Author: M. G.
Even if it can sound pretty obvious (at least it does to us at DAA who have been saying this for almost 15 years now), to stop the AIDS plague worldwide we need more people to call for efficient prevention programs. As we already reported, many Asian-Pacific countries are getting the message and have already begun to take action. Last 19th July, Andrew Tan from the Malaysian Positive Network "myPlus" highlighted the need of shifting the approach on the issue to a public health perspective: "Then we will see the beginning of the end of stigma and discrimination, both key barriers to implementing effective HIV prevention and treatment programs."
Stigma, discrimination and prejudice towards HIV+ people are still a relevant problem in these countries, so it is impressive to see how Thailand's National AIDS Management Centre is reacting to the worrying spreading of the disease within the MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) community - 'good' for 41% of all new infections in 2012. From now on MSM interventions are going to be the top priority and we hope the funding that will be given to these projects continue to grow, as it has been untill now with more than 8% percent in 2011 to MSM related intervations - read this UNAIDS report for further information.
They really need to take action fast especially because, also in Thailand, young people are the most endangered category and this is also because of a deliberate choice of local officials refusing to promote sex education in public schools. "The government doesn't support it because they think young people will have more sex if they learn about it," said Nikorn Chimkong, president of the HIV Foundation Thailand. Really?! Keeping youngsters ignorant is the solution? Young people want to have sex and they will have sex... no matter the 'precautions' of the government. Plus, sex is already everywhere in the media (and not only in hip hop videos), they are already promoting sex. Not much safe sex yet, though. So DAA sees a possibility there as well to educate in a fun way.
Let's see what is going to happen, a lot of efforts are needed and also the courage to talk about everything that has been previously considered as a taboo until now. The fight against AIDS needs a general cultural change to be effective, no alternatives.