Safe sex campaign in schools draws doubts of success
The idea of a Bangkok deputy governor to install condom vending machine in city-run secondary schools and city offices draws opposition with doubts of whether this will really work.
The opposition came from the city’s public health division, according to the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).
NNT said the idea for the installation of condom vending machines in secondary schools, district and other city offices run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) was raised by the deputy Bangkok governor Pusadee Tamtai at a meeting of the city’s 2015 Aids, TB and STIs Control Division (ATSCD) committee this week.
She reasoned her idea was aimed at easing the rate of AIDs infection in the capital.
She disclosed that city figures revealed more than half of AIDs-infected patients last year were teenagers aged under 25.
City’s records show 61,600 people in the capital have infected with AIDs, of whom 3,302 died last year.
It also says 24,762 have been treated with AIDs aniti-viral drugs and 1,824 were new patients. Homosexuals made up 1,071 of the new patients.
The figures also found the rise in AIDs infections had resulted from a lack of condom use.
The meeting said a campaign would be needed to educate the public that the vending machines are designed to promote safer sex.
Some school heads are keen on the idea, but the head of City Hall’s public health division says it is unlikely to be practical, NNT stated.
Linda Woharndee, director of Prachaniwet School, said the plan would help deal with the rising number of infections.
She said parents should understand that many young people have sex. “What they need is access to safe sex,” she said.
But Piyathida Smutraprapoot, the head of City Hall’s ATSCD, which deals with public health issues, said many parents and teachers still oppose the idea for fear it would encourage children to have sex at an early age.
Sompong Jitradup, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of education, said the condom-vending machines could help provide access to safe sex.
He also gave an example of the condom-vending machines being installed at schools in Sa Kaeo province which he said brought down the high rate of unwanted pregnancies, NNT concluded.