Sixteen people test positive for HIV/Aids every day, and the Public Health Ministry wants to cut that number to three per day by 2030, while reducing fatalities by 70%.

The country now has more than 1.5 million registered HIV/Aids-infected patients, accounting for 2.3% of the population, according to statistics for 2017 from the ministry’s Bureau of Epidemiology. Last year alone, it said, there were 5,801 new reported cases, averaging 16 per day.

The ministry aims to reduce the rate of infection to 1,000 cases a year by 2030, or three new patients per day. Another target is to lower the fatality rate to 4,000 a year, from 15,000 at present.

Another new initiative also aims to reduce discrimination and encourage regular tests for the disease.

It has been 33 years since Thailand recorded its first case of HIV/Aids and then introduced controls and preventive measures. It enforced a healthcare policy granting easier access to antiretrovirals in 2002.

HIV/Aids patients are now entitled to healthcare benefits from the National Health Security Office.

The 2015 data also show that around 355,000 patients were receiving antiretroviral medication as of that year, an increase of 33,000 from 2014. This eases the financial burden for many patients, many of whom are spurned by even their own families.

Meanwhile, figures from the Aids, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Division under the Health Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration show that 80% of HIV infections in Bangkok are transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Over 60% of the infected are aged 25-39