Thailand's Ministry of Public Health has announced that the number of AIDS-related deaths in the country declined from 5,020 in 2004 to 1,640 in 2005, reports Thailand's The Nation.
The health ministry's Disease Control Department (DCD) also said there was a 10 per cent decline in the number of new HIV cases in to about 18,000 in 2005.
The number of people in Thailand who developed AIDS dwindled from 13,364 in 2004 to 8,681 in 2005. The decrease in the number of new AIDS cases and AIDS-related deaths can be attributed to the government's antiretroviral drug program, official sources said.
The health ministry announced in July 2005 Thailand planned to provide low-cost antiretrovirals to the 500,000-plus HIV-positive people in the country. The country already provides antiretrovirals at no cost to about 50,000 low-income HIV-positive people under a pilot program that provides basic care to all Thai people. About 80,000 HIV-positive people now are receiving antiretroviral drug treatment through the government program.
Thai Public Health Minister Pinij Charusombat said the ministry could further improve care for HIV/AIDS patients. The government plans to open new clinics targeted at gay men. A majority of new HIV cases last year were teenagers and gay men. The country provided 24 million condoms to high-risk groups last year to aid prevention efforts.