, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 335-346

HIV Risk Behavior Patterns Among Young Thai Men

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Correlates of behavior associated with HIV exposure risk were evaluated in cross-sectional data from 3,839 Royal Thai Army (RTA) recruits whose birthplaces and residences were located away from Thailand's main HIV epicenter. Participants were generally 21 years old, unmarried, educated at the primary school level, and previously had been engaged in agriculture or unskilled labor. HIV prevalence in the sample was 1.8%. Condom use with commercial sex workers (CSW) was less than universal, and a small subset of men emerged who had multiple categories of partners. Nonetheless, CSW patronage appeared lower than in early studies in the Thai epicenter of the Upper North, and the venues patronized generally were not low-cost, high-turnover brothels. Sexual experience with girlfriends was more frequent than CSW experience, and the rate of condom use with girlfriends was relatively low. Lifetime injection drug use (IDU) was reported by 4.1% of the total sample and was associated with recent urban residence, CSW patronage, and sexual precocity. Findings suggest gaps in Thailand's condom campaign and the need to better address HIV risk associated with having multiple partners.