Scholarly literature shows that HIV / Aids is a case of a global pandemic. While some countries have been greatly affected, such as Thailand, the impact is felt within and outside the world. HIV and AIDS epidemic as a bidirectional and sexually transmitted infection has been a generalised epidemic since the early 1990s. However, the disease has a prediction that it will inevitably get worse than even the plaque pandemic that strokes Europe and Asia in the important dates (Karen 19). Nevertheless, the disease remains mostly restricted to risk groups, i.e., intravenous drug users, commercial sex workers, people who have sex with fellow men. Recently, evidence from Africa revealed that AIDS is a bidirectional disease whose primary mode of transmission is through sex. This paper presents a pandemic study of AIDS in Thailand.
Causes of HIV and AIDS
Incidences of HIV and AIDS have developed marginally within the Thailand community. This horrific rise is due to the AIDS distributed drivers (Clark 4). The high-risk groups in Thailand are disadvantaged groups such as sex workers, people who have sex with people and injecting drug users. Like the other oppressed communities, sex workers have played a significant role in the spread of HIV and AIDS. While the topic of sex workers as AIDS spread drivers has sparked many concerns, the truth remains that paying sex is the excellent AIDS pandemic mode of driving. The factor that has led to the rampant spread of AIDS among sex workers is their common drug misuse and needle sharing (McNeil A6). This overlaps two significant factors which make the disease a common phenomenon. Most teenagers in Thailand have skipped the country’s government’s awareness measures and participate in unhealthy sexual activities instead. More than 85 per cent of the youth do not find HIV harm, while more than 70 per cent of STI cases are within the youthful age brackets the region, premarital sex has become a widespread phenomenon among the young. Just 20% of youth engaged in sexual activity using a condom during the act (Freimuth, Noar, and Edgar 293). Sex workers are criminalized classes, so they play the game in secret so it’s very difficult to track or monitor them. The opioid users are another driver category for HIV prevalence. During the first few years of Thailand’s epidemic, HIV was widespread among heroin, opium and cocaine users who injected the drugs with syringes into their bodies and shared them with friends. The government has not made much progress in minimising drug users’ HIV infections (Finkel 258). Despite their efforts to curb drug trafficking in the country, the practice has underground roots that make the prevention campaign difficult, if not impossible, To that party. The country’s prime minister held a substance addiction conference, where he discussed the drug problem.
In Thailand, men who have sex with fellow men represent another major risk group due to AIDS. The prevalence of AIDS among gays grew by twenty-eight per cent in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, in two years, that is, between 2003 and 2005. The prevalence of AIDS among gays in Thailand today is the highest in major cities (Eur 19). People who have sex with fellow people have the highest prevalence for contracting AIDS among the general population, compared. The country has established gay organisations that educate and rehabilitate the victims when needed. As suggested, users, as patients are not offenders (Poundstone et al. 23). The organisations have formed local men’s community centres that provide sex with fellow people around the country where they can meet and socialise.
Thailand has a high number of migrant workers (bridging population) who have contributed the larger share of the country’s labour force. The big challenge this group of people faces is the language barrier and fear of arrest and deportation back to their motherland (Eur 20). The population is, thus, suppressed to access the information about HIV and AIDS, as well as medical services, because of fear of identification as aliens. Due to the lack of general knowledge about HIV, these groups of desperate people end up buying sex from sex workers and exchange multiple partners. This has made AIDS incidences among this group rise and contributes mainly to its spread over the country. Studies showed that the AIDS prevalence among the migrant pregnant women was thrice that of the common Thailand women (Clark 21).
Effects of HIV and AIDS in Thailand
The current findings in Thailand have shown that about five per cent of the entire country’s population has AIDS. This holds but remains with a significant majority of the people residing untested. The actual number, therefore, is much higher than the indicated percentage. The dark part of this is that majority of cases found with high incidents of the disease were among the adults aged 15-50. This segment consists of the most responsible bracket for generating the economic activities of the country (Finkel 262). The spread of HIV and AIDS in Thailand hurts an essential context of human resource.
Due to the combined effect of crisis and mortality rates, the fertility rates have plunged below the ability to replace the deceased. Thailand nearly loses one million persons per year out of HIV and AIDS. The situation is worse for working males who are between the ages of 15-24. This age bracket is presumed to decrease by half in the next twenty years. This has a direct implication of that the long-term economic growth of Thailand will decline. The AIDS prevalence rates in Thailand spells out how the financial makeup of the country has the possible potential for deterioration. The state may not be able to acquire and or transfer a broad human capital base to facilitate economic welfare (Finkel 263). There will also be a less number of skilled and knowledgeable personnel in the production department, as well as reduced returns to investment in human capital over time.
The overall country economy is suffering from a decrease in the number of workers with the appropriate skills. This has reduced the national growth potential and has forced some of the country’s major companies to shift from being labour-intensive to capital-intensive to curb the effect (McNeil A6). The dependency ratio to the country economy is rapidly increasing. This is because there are fewer workers who can sufficiently support the entire orphaned and aged population (Howe & Herdt 189). The cost of labour in the country has increased, leading to the closure of firms and growing competition in the existing companies. All these facts point to the raising of doubts on the financial ability of the country. The country will only have the option of importing expatriates to run the country’s economy.
The increased mortality and morbidity rate of the working-age population has a significant impact on the government’s effectiveness in performance in Thailand. The composition of the public servants has been continuously changing, as well as the government’s performance on the social services inclusively, hospitals being affected (Eur 29). Due to HIV prevalence, the number of employees taking early retirement for medical purposes and those dying in service has increased. It causes disruptions to the working process of the government, as well as its efficiency.
The government in the recent past has been spending a lot in the prevention and care for the people living with AIDS. It has to take care of the orphaned children from different households, which have been swept by the sickness. The amounts spend on orphanage care by the Thailand government amounts to 9.3 per cent of the total national output. The government has also to incur a lot of cost on the medical services of people living with AIDS (Satcher & Farmer 83). The purchase of antiretroviral therapy has cost the government more 24.8 per cent of its national output. There is also the cost of palliative care and treatment for opportunistic infections. All these circumstances have drained the government of Thailand, making it record little economic progress.
The cost for medical care expenditures of persons with AIDS is alarmingly high. Few people have been able to afford the same. Thus, many have to forego care. In this case, the poor feel the most significant effect (Mohiddin and Johnston 11). Though the government has made many efforts to avail quality medical services to people living with AIDS, the growing number of victims has not been able to access these medical services (Freimuth, Noar & Edgar 303). Families spend a lot on these people living with AIDS. For those families that cannot afford the amount, the infected individuals have to undergo extraction.
Government Measures to Limit AIDS Spread
Thailand government has been fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country. It has put forth proposals to curb further spread of the disease. First, although commercial sex is an illegal activity in the country, the government realised realized it was the primary agent for AIDS spreading. It, thus, advocated for 100% condom use campaign in the brothels and massage parlours. The government also has instigated programmes that publically educate people on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. To achieve this, the government has been organising organizing workshops to train agents who go-ahead to reach more public (Finkel 271). It has also started radio and TV programs that educate members of the public extensively on AIDS prevention measures. HIV prevention also includes mass media campaigns, life-skills training for teenagers, peer education, and anti-discrimination campaigns. Political campaigns in media call for respect over the female gender and discourage men from visiting brothels. The government has also instilled improved educational and vocational opportunities, which are availed to young women to keep them out of the sex industry.
The government of Thailand must take into considerations some effective, preventive measures to solve the AIDS pandemic in the country successfully. Although the country has advocated for cost-effective methods like condoms and life-elongating drugs, there is a need for more interventions on vaginal microbicides, vaccines, and advocacy for behavioural changes. The government should avail quality cultural factors in sexual and health-care and financially support anti-AIDS control programs (Finkel 273). The government should look at the barriers of effective implementation of the existing methods and devise mechanisms to overcome these barriers.