Malaysians warned, HIV risk in South

The Malaysian state of Perak has warned Malaysian men travelling to Thailand's southern border provinces that they are at risk of being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a local newspaper in Malaysia reported on Tuesday.

According to the report in Kosmo, a recent study showed a rise in the the number of Malaysian men who contracted HIV after visiting Yala's Betong district, Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district and Songkhla's Hat Yai district.

However, Betong health official Wongwit Akarawarothai said the Ministry of Public Health has been giving twice a year medical check-ups to women who work in the sex industry.

"If we find women who have Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases they will be treated and not be allowed to work in the sex industry again," Mr Wongwit said.

"The women should ask their clients to wear condoms every time they have sex, but we have learned that the women and their clients are usually drunk and they forget to use condoms."

Chalermpol Polmuk of the Metta Dhamma Raksa Foundation at Wat Phrabat Nampu, a shelter for Aids patients, said local tour agencies and guides admitted some foreign tourists wanted to go to brothels or massage parlours.

He said the government aimed to achieve two trillion baht in tourism revenue between 2012 and 2015. Therefore, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had to find ways to generate more revenue.

"One of the marketing strategies the TAT is using is to attract the GLBT group, comprising gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transexuals, because they have high spending power and the market continues growing," Mr Chalermpol said.

He asked whether the government or the TAT had preventive measures against the spread of HIV.

"Are we going to reap the money without caring about the problem of Aids?

"Today our country is full of tourists with high-risk sexual behaviour like swinging, sandwich and full moon parties. Are they not enough?

"Selling sex for money is illegal [in many countries] abroad, but in our country it's easily accessible and we're making it even more accessible," Mr Chalermpol said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 10/10/2012 at 10:27 PM
Khun Chalermpol should raise issues addressing the root causes of Thailand's notorious sextrade anywhere in the country easely available, generated by the past and present governance of the country and supplied to a larger part by those in need of money, to support their children, family and themselves.
Discussion 2 : 10/10/2012 at 10:09 PM
Yes, strange as it is, keep in mind that TAT is doing nothing until the relevant people are getting "grased", thats one of the reason why at certain parts of Thailand you will never see tourists because the communities have no money to spend on the persons at the TAT, result > they are neglected.
Discussion 3 : 10/10/2012 at 09:33 PM
May I suggest to this clever people in Perak to have a look at the Beach Club in KL and many karaoke bars in Penang(this is in Malaysia) and similar places, against this phalanx of prostitutes what happen at the border is rather little stuff. At KL's Jalan Ramlee it's worst than Patpong and Nana Plaza together, no yoke, since the ladies there are very aggressive. This is protected from the very top because it happen totally visible every evening 7 / 365 >> hippocrits!!!!! as we say, if you sit in the "glass house" dont throw stones!
Discussion 4 : 10/10/2012 at 08:22 PM
You are right D3 “it is in no way uniquely Thai” but in most of the places the so called red light business is restricted to certain areas and you will not find this kind of business beside or opposite of schools, in almost every area or street and so on, this is unique.
Discussion 5 : 10/10/2012 at 06:30 PM
Some Thai officials appear to be under the impression that other countries don't have sex industries. Obviously those who lament Thailand's position in the sex-trade have never been to Hamburg, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong, Amsterdam or any other city where sex is openly for sale. Open a newspaper in New York, Tokyo or London and count the ads for sex. You'll be counting for a while. The industry is in no way uniquely Thai.
Discussion 6 : 10/10/2012 at 06:24 PM
You can't beat Darwin's rules, the risk takers die young. "One of the marketing strategies the TAT is using is to attract the GLBT group, comprising gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transexuals, because they have high spending power and the market continues growing," Is this official or just rhetoric?
Discussion 7 : 10/10/2012 at 06:00 PM
Why just the South. Sex is for sale all over Thailand. Even in the countryside there are 'karaoke'/sex bars outside most villages. Where there's sex for sale STDs will be rampant. Girls are tested twice a year, a fallacy. A girl can be tested clear and within an hour of leaving the clinic can be infected.

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