CityNews – Provincial authorities yesterday held a number of activities for World Aids Day, with the focus this year on preventing HIV infection in youths, gay men and foreign workers.
Participants in the caravan set off from the Central Festival mall yesterday. Photo: Weerasak Panyachod.
Vice-Governor of Chiang Mai Nawin Sintusa-ard presided over the launch of the events under the theme ‘No infection, no death, no discrimination: Let’s end Aids and sexual issues together’ at the Central Festival shopping centre, the National News Bureau of Thailand reported.
A campaigning caravan of around 500 people walked or travelled in tuk-tuks and private vehicles around the moat, and some visited local colleges to highlight the importance of HIV/Aids prevention.
Other events included an awards ceremony for individuals and organisations that have helped in the fight against HIV/Aids, a contest for the best costume made from condoms, the Mr and Miss Queen World Aids Day contest, a musical performance by youth bands, and free HIV tests, NNT reported.
Nawin said foreign workers, youths, and homosexuals were at-risk groups that should receive additional care and attention. All sectors must join hands to tackle this issue without labelling or discrimination, he added.
The global theme of World Aids Day this year was ‘Getting to Zero’ – zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero Aids-related deaths.
According to a Ministry of Public Health estimate, Thailand now has around three deaths per hour from Aids. Around 8,535 new patients are diagnosed with HIV annually, or about one person per hour, NNT reported.
Chiang Mai province has seen more than 24,000 AIDS patients since the first case was recorded in 1988, and half of these have died. Chiang Mai has the third-highest number of Aids patients among Thailand’s 76 provinces.