Thai Schools To Close During XV International AIDS Conference in July
Schools and universities in Thailand will be closed during the six-day XV International AIDS Conference scheduled for July in Bangkok to allow students to learn more about HIV/AIDS, the Thai News Service reports. Dr. Charal Trinvuthipong, director general of the Thai Department of Disease Control, said that students will be encouraged to participate in the conference's youth forum, in which young people can discuss HIV/AIDS issues with their peers. The government is hoping to reduce the annual number of new HIV cases among young people in the country from approximately 21,000 to between 17,000 and 19,000, according to the Thai News Service. In addition, the Thai Ministry of Education plans to organize an HIV/AIDS education and prevention exhibition during the conference to help educate people about the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Thai Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with the International AIDS Society, will host the conference (Thai News Service, 3/11). Fifty percent of the profit generated by the conference, which is scheduled for July 11-16, will go toward buying antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people in the country. Thai Sen. Mechai Viravaidya, co-chair of the Community Program Committee of the conference, in a recent interview with kaisernetwork.org -- which will serve as the official webcaster of the conference -- said that delegates attending the conference will "realize that Thailand has taken the problem" of HIV/AIDS "seriously," adding that they "will hear that Asia is expanding extremely rapidly in terms of HIV. And action really needs to be taken" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/24/03). U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former President Clinton have accepted invitations to attend the conference's leader's forum, according to the Thai News Service. Conference organizers said that they expect more than 20,000 participants, despite the country's recent avian flu outbreak, the Thai News Service reports (Thai News Service, 3/11).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.