Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/120203
Type: Thesis
Title: The Thai State and Sexual Health Policy: Deconstructing the culture of silence and stigrmatisation of young people's non-marital heterosexual activity
Author: Drew, Brendan Robert
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: Politics & International Studies
Abstract: On a global scale culture has been identified as a central barrier to implementing effective Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) policy, especially those targeted at HIV and AIDS. Nevertheless, due to the marginalisation of embodied matters from political analysis, cultural matters are typically overlooked in SRH policy analysis. The current dilemma encountered by contemporary SRH policies in Thailand to reduce the vulnerability of young people to new HIV infections demonstrates the need to include culture in such an analysis. This thesis will argue that despite an overall drop in national HIV levels, namely within ‘at risk’ groupings, Thailand’s current AIDS policy does not appear to adequately address the vulnerability of young people to HIV infection. Moreover, this short-fall is not due to inadequate policy, rather it is due to the highly gendered cultural barriers encountered by SRH policy aimed at young people. During the 1990s Thailand earned widespread international recognition as the leading example of a ‘developing’ nation proactively combating the HIV epidemic and AIDS pandemic. Notably national SRH policies that publicly admitted HIV was being spread through unprotected heterosexual sex amongst its massive commercial sex industry. Whilst this was an impressive achievement, this approach did not challenge dominant Thai cultural narratives, given the sex industry is a highly marginalised sector of Thai society. The dominant cultural narratives that define and maintain the modern Thai state, deny non-marital sex occurs within its mainstream, or ‘good’, citizens. Now that the HIV epidemic appears to be moving beyond the quarantined sex industry, contemporary Thai officials are constrained by dominant Thai cultural narratives this time and unable to acknowledge (as they did in the past) that there is a possible HIV epidemic in the general population of young Thais, spread through unprotected sex. To support this assertion this thesis draws on a feminist informed, post-colonial theoretical approach, focused on gender and class in modern Thailand, to deconstruct the gendered-agenda of Thai SRH policy. This deconstruction draws on an in-depth review of SRH literature and gender/sexuality theory from Thai and Western sources, including comparative case studies from Thailand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. This foundation is further supported with empirical research with students from two tertiary education institutions in Bangkok, Thailand. The aim being to identify the primary barriers to current SRH policy in Thailand, and how these could be accommodated into future policies to make them culturally appropriate to Thailand, and thereby more effective. From these findings several methods are suggested in which policy makers could modify current and future SRH policies to make their delivery more culturally appropriate, whilst at the same time addressing the vulnerability of young people to HIV infection.
Advisor: Beasley, Christine
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Politics & International Studies, 2019
Keywords: Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy
young people
Thailand
HIV AIDS culture Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
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