Population and Community Development Association

AIDS Awareness and Prevention

      Twelve years after the establishment of PDA's family planning and population management activities, along came AIDS. The first AIDS victim in Thailand was detected in 1984. If this problem was not tackled, it was predicted that by the year 2000 there would be between 2-4 million infected persons, and one in every three deaths in Thailand would be AIDS-related.

      PDA was one of the first to sound the alarm about the possible rapid spread of HIV and AIDS in Thailand. It has responded with an AIDS program that fights the epidemic with a combination of prevention, information dissemination, and care projects. AIDS prevention efforts respond to broad societal needs for accurate information and frank discussion as well as the needs of different communities. Through vocational training and education projects, PDA has helped to give villagers economic alternatives to the commercial sex industry, especially for young northern women who are often targeted by recruiters.

     PDA pushed for, and helped establish, a national AIDS education program. The Prime Minister became the Chair of the National AIDS Committee, and funding for the program was increased from US$2M to US$50M in 1991. PDA also educated its network of village family planning agents in the causes and prevention of AIDS, emphasizing compassion and understanding. The campaign also aimed to change sexual norms of behavior in society, particularly that of people involved in the sex industry, young people, and the public in general. Several sex and AIDS education projects tackled the issue through training and peer group exercises in schools, prisons, and other groups in the community.

      In cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, PDA also trained government officers, district officers, governors, and community leaders, such as monks, to inform the wider community abut AIDS. Training was organized for employees of private companies to make them aware of the dangers and to de-stigmatize the disease.

Anonymous Mobile Clinic and Condom Nights

     An anonymous mobile clinic unit provides blood tests for AIDS in areas close to red light districts and places of entertainment, so that anyone can be tested in strict confidence and privacy.

     Moreover, PDA conducts "Condom Nights" and "Miss Anti-AIDS Beauty Pageants" in the most popular sex districts of Bangkok (including Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy). This provides an excellent opportunity to inform the target group who has the highest risk of HIV infection, prostitutes and their clients, about AIDS prevention.