- UNAIDS - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
- Relationships of HIV and STD Declines in Thailand to Behavioural Change: A Synthesis of Existing Studies
- UNAIDS Best Practice Collection Key Material
- Description of Work
- UNAIDS - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Geneva, 1998, 61 pp
Reproduced with the kind permission of UNAIDS.
" The Thai HIV/AIDS epidemic has been perhaps the most extensively and completely documented infectious disease epidemic in the world. The Ministry of Public Healths national HIV sentinel surveillance system has captured the evolution of the epidemic from almost the beginning. Data on the risk behaviours driving the epidemic were collected early and disseminated widely. Large numbers of Thai researchers and their international collaborators have conducted hundreds of studies to understand the factors influencing the epidemic and to develop effective counter-measures to slow its growth. These studies span the full range of disciplines, from epidemiology, to behaviour, to clinical manifestations and treatment, to prevention programme design and evaluation. They have resulted in well over 1000 published reports and papers on various aspects of HIV/AIDS [Ministry of University Affairs, 1995]. This strong research infrastructure and data availability makes Thailand a suitable place to examine the linkages between reported changes in behaviour and changes in HIV/STD prevalence and incidence. This paper undertakes a review of the available literature in order to: summarize existing epidemiological and behavioural data, documenting changes over time on both national and regional levels; examine the relationships found between behaviour and HIV/STD infection; determine the feasibility of linking behavioural and epidemiological aspects of the epidemic; examine the correlation of behavioural change with epidemiological change; and determine the practical implications of these findings for continuing Thai national programme and policy needs. This is undertaken in the hope that the results will benefit both policymakers and those responsible for informing policymakers, programme managers,
and the public of the current status of the epidemic. Detailed knowledge of the successes, methodological constraints, and limitations that can be drawn from the Thai experience will also benefit other countries, especially through the realization that behaviours can be changed, slowing HIV spread substantially and altering the course of the epidemic."