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Thanyarak Institute World AIDS Day Seminar

Bangkok (Thailand), 2 December 2009 - On the occasion of World AIDS Day the Thanyarak Institute conducted a seminar on Reducing the Dangers of Drug Use - Reducing AIDS.

H.E. Mr. Manit Nopamornbodee, Deputy Minister for Public Health presided over the Seminar and invited special guests included Khun Preecha Butrasri The Governor of Phatum Thani, Dr Rewat Wisutwet Director General Department of Medical Services, Khun Pithaya Jinawat Deputy Secretary General Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Mr Michael Hahn, UNAIDS Country Coordinator Thailand, Dr Maureen E. Birmingham WHO Representatives Thailand and Mr Gary Lewis UNODC Representative East Asia and the Pacific. The seminar participants included doctors from 45 Provinces and from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

H.E. the Deputy Minister used the occasion to express his support for the expanding harm reduction programme in Thailand and his hope that all drug dependent people will have access to long-term methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the future. He also presented awards to representatives of the Provinces and Organizations who are engaged in the Harm Reduction project. Representatives of UNAIDS, UNODC and WHO congratulated the Ministry of Public Health for the significant steps already taken in developing the national harm reduction programme. They welcomed the collaboration of the past and all reiterated the support of their agencies for its further development, if requested. The seminar programme also included two panel discussions, involving a number of experts who discussed first, international experience in harm reduction, particularly long term MMT and second, the provision of long term MMT in Thailand at present and in the future.