Thursday, November 14, 2019

Get tested for HIV and receive effective treatment: doctors

Jul 01. 2019
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By The Nation

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Nearly 30,000 people in Thailand remain unaware that they are living with HIV and so have not yet sought treatment with antiretroviral drugs, Department of Disease Control director-general Dr Suwanchai Watthanayingcharoenchai said on Monday.

These people could unknowingly pass along the virus to others, he warned, urging Thai public members to get free HIV/Aids tests from public hospitals twice yearly.

Once someone knows their HIV status, they can start treatments via the universal healthcare scheme, the Social Security Office scheme or the civil servant's healthcare scheme, he said.

“The faster you know, the better you can control the disease [by taking antiretroviral drugs] and stop it from spreading [to others],” Suwanchai said.

His comments were made to mark the Voluntary Counselling Testing (VCT) Day for HIV/Aids, which falls on July 1 every year. This year's VTC theme is “Know Your Status”, which aims to ensure people access the free-and-fast HIV tests and to promote quality of life and healthcare. 

Thailand’s health authority is aiming to significantly reduce the number of people living with HIV and the number of HIV/Aids deaths by 2030.

The DDC, using mathematical modelling, estimates there were 6,400 new HIV/Aids cases reported last year, while 18,000 people living with HIV died and about 480,000 people are now living with HIV, Suwanchai said. Of those living HIV-positive people, 451,384 knew of their status while about 28,000 were unaware and so were not yet being treated, he said.

For more information about the HIV test and treatments, call the Aids and Unwanted Pregnancy Hotline at 1663, the National Health Security Office Hotline at 1330 or the DDC Hotline at 1422.

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