Food, Nutrition and Agriculture no. 34 2005, 2005.
Phoolchareon, Wiput
Health Systems Research Institute
Evolution of Thailand's strategy to cope with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV/AIDS has led to incalculable human suffering and social disruption, as well as huge economic costs. By acknowledging the problem early and creating a comprehensive strategy, Thailand has become the first country in the developing world where declines in HIV prevalence are seen nationally and the HIV epidemic has been successfully controlled through a prevention strategy. The multifaceted approach to prevent the spread of HIV and care for those who are affected is the focus of this article. Government commitment at the highest levels and willingness to alter policies and programmes are highlighted as major contributors to the positive experience in Thailand. The evolution of the policy is described in three phases: confrontation with the new epidemic; creation of unified alliances; and alleviation of the consequences of HIV/AIDS. As understanding of the social, economic and cultural roots of the epidemic grew, each sector of society came to play a role in the response to the epidemic. Public information campaigns, mobilization of resources and support for HIV-affected people are discussed.
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