World AIDS Day is celebrated globally on December 1st of every year in hopes to eliminate the disease in the near future. From 2011-2015, it is celebrated under the theme “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
Currently, there is an estimate of 440,000 people in Thailand who are still living with HIV, according to UNAIDS. Since the first discovery of HIV/AIDS patients in 1984, the country has come a long way in tackling the issue of both caring for infected patients and preventing people from such infection.
Since early 1990s, various activities have been promoted to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. For this year, the National AIDS Management Center under the Public Health Ministry is promoting HIV counseling and testing as a way to eliminate new HIV infections as well as avoid AIDS-related deaths.
According to Dr. Taweesap Siraprapasiri, Director of the National AIDS Management Center, Ministry of Public Health, HIV/AIDS awareness has been declining over the years.
One of the main activities to tackle this problem is the launch of a worldwide innovative program called Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing or VCT@Work. The concept of this program is to encourage 100,000 workers to undergo voluntary HIV testing through their workplaces by the end of 2015.
With strong commitment and establishment of the national strategic HIV and AIDS plan for 2012-2016, Thailand may be capable of achieving the goal of eliminating new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths as well as fostering a better attitude toward HIV/AIDS patients by 2015.