Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 04:02 GMT


World: Asia-Pacific

Churches tackle Thailand's Aids problem

In many families only the very old and very young have survived

The spread of Aids in Thailand has prompted the country's two main religious communities to work together for the first time.


Religious Affairs Correspondent Emily Buchanan: "Thailand has 80,000 Aids orphans"
Thailand has the highest level of infection with the HIV virus in Asia.

Aids has left Thailand with around 80,000 orphans. In many families, only the old and young have survived.

Prostitution rife


[ image: Thousands of families have lost relatives]
Thousands of families have lost relatives
Local communities say HIV has spread rapidly because many young men visit prostitutes frequently and then pass on the infection to their wives.

For more than 100 years, Christian missionaries were seen as a threat to Buddhism in Thailand, but Aids has joined the two religions.

Christians and Buddhists are co-operating on several projects to save communities.

Moral influence

Temples are acting as health clinics where medication and sex education is provided.

Catholic nuns are monitoring the numbers of Aids-infected people with help from village elders.


[ image: Buddhists once felt threatened by Christianity]
Buddhists once felt threatened by Christianity
Buddhist monks are even exerting their moral influence over boys by attracting them to the temple with classes in Thai boxing.

Father Cyril Niphot, from the Diocese of Chiang Mai, believes that by helping Buddhist communities rediscover their moral values, change will come.

"When you lose your value system the result is the death," he said.

"You have to change your perspective and value system, and go back to the traditional belief."

The results of this religious partnership are that brothels are closing and the pace of HIV infection is slowing down.

In one of the worst infected areas in the north of the country, Muang Phayayo, no new HIV infections have been recorded for the last six months.

Such is the success, that campaigning against HIV using the religious network could become an example for the rest of Asia.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

24 Dec 98 | Aids
More volunteers needed for Aids vaccine trials

21 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand's Aids crisis: Worst 'yet to come'

15 Sep 98 | Health
HIV to double in Asia by 2000





Internet Links


Directory of Aids resources in Asia

International Association of Physicians in Aids care

Koh Samui Net


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

DiCaprio film trial begins

Millennium sect heads for the hills

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

From Business
Chinese imports boost US trade gap

ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

Malaysian candidates named

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

China warns US over Falun Gong

Thais hand back Cambodian antiques