Objective: To determine the prevalence of sexual risk behaviors for HIV in the general population aged 15–44 years in Nakhonsawan province, Thailand.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Methods: A two-stage cluster sampling technique was used to select 630 participants aged 15–44 years from the general population. Tape-recorders with earphones provided questions to the respondents, who used self-administered answer sheets to record their responses.
Results: Most participants were rural, married and educated at the primary school level. The mean age was 31.5 years. Seventy-eight percent of all participants had ever had sexual intercourse. The prevalence of premarital sex among married participants was 41%. In the previous year, 20% of the participants had had sex with commercial or non-regular partners. Sex with non-regular partners occurred more frequently than sex with commercial partners. Sixty-one percent had used condoms the last time they had sex with a commercial partner and 46% had used condoms the last time they had sex with non-regular partners. Consistent condom use with non-regular partners was lower than with commercial partners. Voluntary HIV testing during the previous year was reported by 24% of the participants who had had sex with commercial or non-regular partners.
Conclusions: The results suggest that Nakhonsawan needs to strengthen implementation of the 100% condom programme, address condom use with non-commercial partners, promote awareness of personal risk rather than identification of risk groups and increase voluntary HIV testing among people who engage in risky behaviors.
From the aDivision of Epidemiology, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand and the bDivision of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Requests for reprints to: C. Lertpiriyasuwat, AIDS Division, Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Tivanon Road, Nonthaburi, 11000, Thailand.
Received: 8 August 2002; revised: 20 February 2003; accepted: 24 March 2003.