Real-time HIV epidemic info available

national June 05, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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On Friday, the Disease Control Department of the Ministry of Public Health, on behalf of the Thailand's National Aids Committee, in partnership with UNAIDS, will launch the Aids Zero Portal - (AZP) - an innovative interactive tool

An estimated 460,000 people are living with HIV in Thailand and more than 246,000 people were on antiretroviral therapy in 2013. Some 8,200 new infections and 21,000 Aids-related deaths occur annually. Two thirds of new infections occur in 33 provinces and Bangkok accounts for nearly 25 per cent of new infections. 
“The Aids Zero Portal will be a critical tool to provide strategic information for effective prevention, as well as for treatment and care for people living with HIV,” Dr Sophon Mekthon, Director General of Disease Control Department, Ministry of Public Health, said.
Evidence shows that sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users, and men who have sex with men are most affected by HIV, accounting for more than 60 per cent of new infections in Thailand. 
“The key to getting to zero is delivering HIV programmes where the epidemic is and tailoring services to the needs of key affected population, so that no one is left behind,” added Tatiana Shoumilina, UNAids Country Director, Thailand.
The Aids Zero Portal is designed to break down complex data so policy makers and programme managers can effectively plan finances, better target the services, track progress and identify opportunities for improvement. 
“By accessing real-time data on the go, health professional can monitor the progress of programmes and quickly adapt to changing needs,” said Dr Taweesap Sirapaprasiri, Director, National Aids Management Centre, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. 
“Almost Bt9 billion was spent on the HIV response in 2013 but only 16 per cent of that went towards a prevention programme. AZP will help better target our budgets and maximise their impact to reach people in need with sufficient coverage,” Dr Taweesap added.

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