Sunday, January 18, 2009

Updated numbers on HIV infection in Thailand

According to this article in The Bangkok Post, 1.2 million Thais contracted HIV between 1984 and September 2008. Of those 92,111 have already died. Included in the numbers of the infected include 10,728 government officers. 90% of the total number contracted HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, through sexual intercourse.

As I wrote earlier, the HIV infection rate in Thailand presents great challenges to the current government and a great deal of attention needs to be paid regarding how to provide anti-retroviral medications to all of these people, as Thailand currently does.

A topic of much debate (at least at my university) is regarding the overall health care system in Thailand. The government of Thaksin Shinawatra created a 30Baht (.90 cents U.S) universal health scheme. Many middle class Thais feel that they already pay way too much tax to a government that redistributes it disproportionately to the poor. I tend to disagree and personally am happy to pay tax here knowing that it is going to helping people who really have nothing.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The answer is in your language. Why should the middle class always carry the burden? Wealthy Thais need to step up and lead here. I really hate the disconnect the rich have in Thailand to social duty. It seems to me the last thing a middle class person needs is more taxes. The wealthy are the ones who should bear this since the situation in Thailand is a result of a number of factors, many of which the rich gain from.

Craig Williamson said...

The World Bank estimates that for every 1 baht spent on HIV programs in Thailand, 43 baht is saved. Part of that is on HIV prevention and the other part is on anti-retrovirals. In many cases breadwinners have been able to continue working, or return to work after starting on the pills and therefore they can provide for their families and require much less social assistance and create fewer orphans. It's not only just delaying the inevitable as with proper care many of these parents will be able to work until well after there kids are already adults and able to support themselves. Yes, the rich should do more but the middle class actually saves money by subsidizing these programs.

Anonymous said...

good point.....

Craig Williamson said...

It's actually the topic of a research seminar that I'm preparing. I really should be working on that rather than blogging about the topic actually.