|Connecting Lower HIV Infection Rates with Changes in Sexual Behaviour in Thailand - Data collection and comparison (UNAIDS, 1998, 18 p.)|
The methods and results of individual studies may be disputed. However, taken together, and particularly when data from different sources are compared, the implications of Thailand's exceptional efforts to track the epidemic and the behaviours that lead to it are clear:
· high levels of unprotected sex with sex workers were followed by a boom in HIV infection;
· a national effort to promote safe behaviour was followed by a drop in visits to sex workers and an increase in condom use;
· those changes in behaviour have been rewarded by a decrease in STDs and new HIV infections.
The body of evidence gathered by Thailand's epidemiological and behavioural information systems and widely publicized in the country and abroad has been a vital tool in reducing the further spread of HIV. It has allowed for the design of appropriate programmes to slow the spread of the disease. It has generated political and public support for funding of those programmes. It has created awareness among those whose behaviour put them and their partners at risk. Most importantly, it has enabled Thailand to demonstrate convincingly to its own people and the world that adopting safe behaviours can change the course of the epidemic on both a personal and a national scale.