HIV Infections On The Rise: Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

The help of the media is being enlisted to strengthen the HIV/AIDS control campaign in the hope of reducing the number of new HIV infections.

The Centre for HIV/AIDS/STI (CHAS) is recording about 1,000 new infections each year. The Centre’s Deputy Director, Dr PhouthoneSouthalack, said last week that even though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Laos is low, the number of people contracting HIV is on the rise.

The media is urged to play a part by helping to modify behaviour that increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

This includes encouraging people to practice safe sex by using a condom, as well as encouraging people in high risk groups to have blood tests at a hospital or healthcare centre.

Dr Phouthone also called on the media to continue to publish information on HIV/AIDS and drug and alcohol abuse, especially targetting young people.

“If people from all walks of life understand the basics of HIV/AIDS, it will go some way to preventing the spread of diseases,” he said.

Participants at a meeting to discuss the matter also reviewed the results of a survey of sex workers and homosexuals in Laos.

Deputy Director General of the Mass Media Department, Mr Inpone Nakhonesy, said it was essential that reporters understood HIV/AIDS and its prevention as they were in the frontline when it came to delivering the facts to the public.

According to the CHAS, out of 568,954 blood tests done from 1990 to 2015, 8,168 people tested positive for HIV. Of those, 4,731 people developed AIDS and 1,792 people died from the virus.