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.