Category Archives: Pre-trip Student Assignments


By Madelyn Bayles 

Dengue, a disease that infects as many as 400 million people per year, may be caused by four different viruses (About Dengue, 2019). These viruses, which are all part of the genus Flavivirus, are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4 (Dengue Viruses). It is hypothesized that these viruses originated among various primates and only began infecting humans 500 to 1,000 years ago (Dengue Viruses).

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The typical structure of a dengue virus (Dengue Viruses)

            Dengue is spread by the Aedes genus of mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus) (About Dengue). These species are known for spreading many diseases besides dengue, including chikungunya and Zika (About Dengue).

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The mosquito species Aedes aegypti (Stelloh, 2016)

Dengue’s symptoms include a high fever of about 104°F (Dengue fever: Symptoms & causes, 2018). Additionally, sufferers may experience bone, muscle, and joint pain; headaches; nausea; rashes; swollen glands; and vomiting (Dengue fever: Symptoms & causes). In severe cases, individuals may experience abdominal pain; bleeding from the gums or nose; bloody stool, urine, or vomit; clammy skin; difficulty breathing; exhaustion; and other symptoms (Dengue fever: Symptoms & causes).

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A rash characteristic of dengue (Prinsloo, 2014)

There is no particular treatment for dengue (Dengue fever: Diagnosis & treatment, 2018). It is recommended that sufferers keep hydrated, and, if necessary, patients may use pain relievers such as acetaminophen in (Dengue fever: Diagnosis & treatment). However, certain pain relievers (including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium) should be avoided, as they can worsen bleeding problems (Dengue fever: Diagnosis & treatment).

A vaccine against dengue, Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) is licensed by Sanofi Pasteur, and around five others are currently being developed (Questions and Answers, 2018). Unfortunately, there has been significant controversy surrounding CYD-TDV. In 2016, the Filipino government pushed to vaccinate about one million children with CYD-TDV (Doucleff, 2019). However, it was found that the vaccine negatively affected some of the children who had not suffered from dengue in the past (Doucleff). After this information came to light, protests were held, the Congress of the Philippines scrutinized the use of the vaccine, and the deaths of hundreds of children were investigated (Doucleff).

Dengue occurs in more than 100 countries, though it is particularly prevalent in tropical and subtropical areas, including Thailand (Dengue).

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Dengue in Southeast Asia (Dengue)

As of May 10th, dengue hemorrhagic fever, a severe form of dengue, has claimed twenty-seven lives in Thailand this year (Dengue fever alert, 2019). This is the greatest fatality rate in five years (Dengue fever alert). Dr. Supakit Sirilak, Thailand’s Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary, has urged health agencies to ready themselves to fight the disease (Dengue fever alert).

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A recent headline about dengue’s high death toll in Thailand (Dengue fever alert)

People wishing to avoid dengue should take steps to avoid mosquito bites, including applying DEET-containing insect repellant, disposing of water containers near residences, and wearing long sleeves (Thailand, 2019).



About Dengue: What You Need to Know. (2019, May 3). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue and severe dengue. (2019, April 15). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue fever: Diagnosis & treatment. (2018, February 16). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue fever: Symptoms & causes. (2018, February 16). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue fever alert in Thailand after 27 deaths. (2019, May 10). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Dengue Viruses. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Doucleff, M. (2019, May 03). Rush To Produce, Sell Vaccine Put Kids In Philippines At Risk.

Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Prinsloo, B. (2014). Arboviral diseases in Southern Africa. Official Journal of the South African

Academy of Family Practice/Primary Care, 48(8), 25-28. doi:10.1080/20786204.2006.10873441

Stelloh, T. (2016, January 25). Aedes Aegypti: Meet the Mosquito Spreading Zika Virus Panic.

Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Thailand General Health Risks: Dengue. (2019, May 10). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Questions and Answers on Dengue Vaccines. (2018, April 20). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from

Effects of Tourism on Thailand

By Rylee Adkison and Erin Macinnis

Thailand has become one of the biggest booming areas for tourism lately and all in good reason as thailand is home to amazing beaches, greenery, and fun! Thailand has so much to offer but specific landmarks in thailand have been getting hit harder than others in terms of the rising numbers of tourist populations. There have been some positive and negative effects on some popular thai cities. Tourism can offer countries an economic boost but can have other adverse effects such as impacting the environment and destroying some beautiful landmarks. Some specific places that are being hit the hardest include Koh Tachai, koh phi phi island and the infamous maya bay. (below)

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“over tourism” in thailand has been wreaking havoc on the beautiful scenery and ecosystems that the local beaches procure. Some beaches have even closed because the amount of tourists have been exceeding the max population for too long ; maya bay in specific 820 feet long and it sees about five thousand visitors each and every day. Some of the effects this has had on May bay is the “ decimation of entire ecosystems on these islands: Their beaches and waves have become littered with trash, their reefs severely damaged by irresponsible snorkelers and boats (Maya is estimated to have lost 80 percent of its coral cover), and marine life virtually wiped out as a result”. This beach has been a spot for many tourists since the 2000 film “the beach” and as progressed into such a popular spot for tourism that the local thai government had to issue a “ temporary tourist ban” but has denounced that since with closing the beach indefinitely to restore what once was.

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Wildlife has also been majorly affected by tourism. Specifically in Chiang Mai, elephant rides are becoming more and more popular. Although these rides are fun for tourists and throw more money into the Thai economy, they are ethically questionable. The elephants are kept in captivity and chained up in between rides. In addition, they are subjected to all kinds of abuse brought on by their mahouts, which are supposed to be the people that care for them. Elephants are supposed to be able to free roam and act as they please, but being used recreationally takes away their ability to do these things.

Another serious issue that has resulted from Thai tourism is the exponential growth of sex work and human trafficking. Although it is beyond the tourist’s control, many people are roped into the industry either voluntarily or involuntarily. According to the UN’s refugee agency in 2013, there were at least three million migrant workers in Thailand. The majority of these workers are involved in the sex industry. While walking through Patpong Market, a popular location for sex workers, you will hear western languages being spoken. You will hear more English and Spanish than Thai and Khmer. Sex trafficking in Thailand is a developing problem and there is little incentive to enforce laws against it.

There are many negative effects of tourism, especially in thailand in the last decade, but there are also many positive effects. Tourism doesn’t only do the obvious of bringing in cash but also benefits the “country’s transport systems, electricity supply and telecommunications.” Tourism can also offer places like thailand an increase in jobs for the locals which will in turn not only bring in money, but will give back to the thai community as a whole. Overall as there are many negative effects of tourism in thailand there can also be positive ones as long as the local government is keeping up with the demand for protection of the most beautiful places there country has to offer.


Tigtag UK. (2019). Tourism in Thailand. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2019].

Editors, C. (2019). 15 Beloved Places Struggling With Overtourism. [online] Condé Nast Traveler. Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2019].

CNN Travel (2019). Thailand Bay made popular by ‘The Beach’ to remain closed for two more years. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2019].

Valenta, K. (2019). The Dark Side of Tourism in Thailand. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2019].


By Dacota Shell and Meg Villalobos

History of elephants in Thailand

The role of elephants in Thai culture began in the 1500s and the animals have been praised for their longevity, durability, and strength throughout the country. Because of the sheer size and power of these animals, they were used in the fights involving the Burmese, the Malays, and the Khmer. Kings were often known to ride their elephants into battle and the more elephants a king had, showed his power.

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During the Civil War that took place in the U.S.A. (1861 – 1865) the Thai king offered many elephants to current President Lincoln to help win the war. But because certain land and water vehicles were gaining popularity, the offer was declined. Along with participating in acts of war, elephants were also considered to be working animals; they were used in place of farming equipment, used for logging, and used for the construction of temples. Elephants were also prominently pictured on the Thai flag (1850s – 1920s), which had the elephant in the middle of a red background. While the national flag may not feature an elephant today, the sacred animal is still feature in the Thai naval and diplomatic flags. The use of elephants for war purposes came to an end once gunpowder became popular and the animals were rendered useless on the battlefield.

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White Elephants

White elephants are not only considered to be a symbol of royalty in Thailand, but they are also sacred symbols in both Buddhism and Hinduism. This belief stemmed from the Buddhist legend that said that Buddha’s mother was visited by a white elephant before his birth. This is why the white elephant is revered and considered to be a royal symbol.

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Because white elephants are so symbolic, all white elephants are considered to be property of the King and the number of white elephants the King had determined their power and status. The white elephants are also believed to be well-bringers of the country’s well-being and prosperity.

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White elephants were also given as gifts by Thai kings to their friends and their enemies. Because white elephants are rare, the elephants that were given as gifts were not to be used for work and they were not to be given away – this left the burden of taking care of the elephants as pets on the receiver of the gift. This was quite problematic because not many were financially stable enough to afford to keep these animals and were often led to crippling debt. Although if the receiver of the gift was a friend or had the favor of the Thai king, along with the elephant they were given land to house and feed the elephant, saving the receiver from financial ruin.

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Phang Nga Elephant Park. (2019). Thai elephant history. Retrieved from

Iverson, K. (2018). How the elephant became Thailand’s national symbol. Retrieved from

Hulme, K. (2018). How ancient Thailand used elephants as instruments of war. Retrieved from

Cavanagh, R. (2008). The elephant in Thailand. Retrieved from

Thai Elephant Conservation Center. (n.d.) Royal elephant stable. Retrieved from

Thai Massage

By Tallya Llewelyn and Kate Abbott


Thai massages, or  Nuad Bo-Rarn in Thai, has been around for thousands of years and is a very important part of health and wellness in Thailand. The massage is based around “sen”, which are energy lines that flow throughout your body. Obviously, this type of massage greatly differs from our normal, western Swedish massages. Nevertheless it has many benefits and is often described “like ten thousand waves washing over your body” (Chongkol Setthakorn).


The history of Thai massage dates back to over 2500 years ago and has origins from India in addition to its Thai background. Thai massage was developed by a man named Shivago Komaparaj who is also credited as the inventor of Thai traditional medicine. The history of Thai massage closely follows the origins of Thai medicine as massage was incorporated with the four basic principles of Thai medicine. The other three principles of Thai medicine include nutrition, herbal medicine and spiritual practice.  This traditional style of massage was created as a form of healing based on the yogic principles and Shivago’s own mediative and healing experiences.

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          Since Thai massage is different than the Swedish massages that most people are familiar with, there are several differences in their principles of massage practice. Thai massage is based on the concept that there is a life force within each body which is referred to as energy flow, chi or prana. This life force flows throughout the whole body and its role is to maintain vitality along with health. The life force that runs through every body is similar to the idea of the meridians of Chinese acupuncture but in Thai massage, they are called Sens and can be felt throughout the body. There are approximately 72,000 Sens that run throughout the body and this is how Thai massage heals your body by working with the Sen lines. When these energy lines are blocked or cannot flow as usual, that is when health problems can occur and one might develop sickness or diseases.

Thai massage clears up the Sen lines by utilizing a variety of methods during the massage. Unlike other massage therapies, there is no use of lotions or oils and the massage is given by using deep compression, pressing in rhythmic motions, and stretching through positions. Manipulation, pressure, adjustments and stretching creates a comprehensive experience for the body and the masseur will usually use various parts of their body to give the massage such as their hands, elbows, feet and knees. After this physical manipulation is completed, the energy pathways should be cleared and the body will feel better as muscles and joints will be elongated and the body should move towards a more balanced state than before the massage.

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There are many benefits that one can experience by getting Thai massages. The benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Pain relief
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Increase in muscular flexibility
  • Increase in joint mobility
  • Improvements in immunity
  • Mental relaxation
  • Less fatigue within the body
  • Better sleep
  • Better circulation

What to expect for your massage

If you are expecting to go in and lie on your stomach for an hour, you are about to be extremely surprised during your Thai massage. Thai massages differs in many ways from the normal Swedish massage, which we most commonly use here in America. One way it differs is that you will not just be lying on your stomach the whole time. During a Thai massage one should expect to move through many positions while the therapist applies direct pressure to various muscles all over your body. Common positions include lying on your back, front or sides, and sitting. You will move through these position in a way that will feel similar to a yoga flow.

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Traditional Thai Massage

 A few more differences include time and materials used. First, due to moving more and the therapist trying to massage all your muscles, the massage generally lasts for more than one hour. During this time you will not be on a table. While having a Thai massage, you will be on a thick padded mat that is placed on the floor. This is because of all the movements and being on the floor allows for the therapist to accommodate more easily for your needs. The final major difference is there will be no oils or lotions used like in a Swedish massage. No oil is used because pressure is being directly applied and there is very little or no rubbing techniques used.


About Thai Massage. (2019). Retrieved from

Bangkok Condo Finder. (2018, August 24). What to Expect from a Traditional Thai Massage. Retrieved from

Farrell, S. (n.d.). ITM-USA. Retrieved from

TFFS. “The Untold History and Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage.” Thefourfountainsspa, The Four Fountains Spa, May 10. 2019,

Wong, C. (2018). Is Thai Massage Right for You?. Retrieved from

Medical Tourism

By Haley Southwick and Kristine Hoggard

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Retrieved from

Medical tourism is travelling abroad to obtain medical treatment. The main reasons for medical tourism are cheaper medical costs and shorter waiting lists.

Pro’s of Medical Tourism:

The main reason to travel abroad to receive medical care is cost. There are high labor costs in the United States, which drive up the cost of healthcare. Traveling to a place like Bangkok can greatly reduce the price of the procedure being performed. In Bangkok, the total cost of open heart surgery and a week in a hospital is $19,000, compared to the United States where open heart surgery is $80,000 without insurance (Finch, 2014). Bangkok is the most popular place for medical tourism. In 2011, 500,000 tourists visited Thailand for medical treatment (Eden, 2012). Adele Kulyk, CEO of Saskatchewan-based Global Healthcare Connections Inc., said “Why is Thailand so popular? It’s because of the Thai health care system. It’s advanced and affordable, and these are the two most important criteria for would-be medical tourists”(Finch, 2014). Medical tourism helps build the Thai economy because the people who travel to Thailand for medical procedures are often seeking out the more expensive procedures.

Shorter waiting lists are another reason people travel abroad for medical treatment. In Canada open heart surgery is less expensive than in the United States, but long waiting lists have made Thailand a popular choice for Canadians who are in need of heart surgery (Finch, 2014).

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Retrieved from

Con’s of Medical Tourism:

As there are pros to every story there’s cons as well. Cons of medical tourism include lack of follow-up care in a patient’s original country, different legislation, less severe malpractice repercussions, language barriers, antibiotic resistance, and risk of deep vein thrombosis post operations, (CDC, 2017). When making a life altering decision such as surgery, one must weigh the pros and cons of the procedure. Traveling to another country there is most likely a language barrier that can lead to miscommunication and several medical errors. If someone would like to travel abroad for a surgery they should establish a way of communicating with staff and medical personnel. Along with language barriers, malpractice laws are different per country. Specifically, Thailand medical malpractice suits can be difficult to follow through to conclusion. If a lawsuit is filed on the basis of malpractice the whole case must be tried in Thailand and this can be expensive and time costly for all those involved. It is also difficult to obtain all medical records across country borders due to differing privacy laws, (Legal Alliance, 2019). After surgery there is always a risk of blood clots, there is also this risk while taking long flights. These two in combination double the risk for a blood clot; which can lead to stroke, mental deficits and even death. Along with risk of blood clots there are different bacteria strains in other countries and antibiotic resistance is a prevalent problem globe wide.


Eden, C. (2012, September 04). Travel – The rise of medical tourism in Bangkok. Retrieved from

Finch S. (2014). Thailand top destination for medical tourists. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 186(1), E1–E2. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4655. Retrieved from:

The pros and cons of medical tourism. (2009, February 13). Retrieved from

Taosiri, J. (2019). Medical Malpractice in Thailand: What You Need to Know. Retrieved 2019, from

Travelers’ Health. (2017, October 23). Retrieved from

The Sukhothai Kingdom

By Kenyon Kaegi-Rittiman & Preston Kill

The Sukhothai Kingdom represents a critical portion of Thailand’s history and modern existence. The word “Sukhothai” means dawn of happiness. In Thailand, the Sukhothai Kingdom is considered the start of Thailand as a country. The kingdom was established in 1248 CE by King Inthrathit. The capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom was a city of the same name. The ruins of this city were declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1991. Before the existence of Sukhothai as an independent kingdom, the area was controlled by the Khmer empire. The Khmer empire at its peak size included parts of modern-day Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. While the full story of Sukhothai’s independence is not fully known, it is thought that independence was achieved from the Khmer by King Inthrathit and that one of King Inthrathit’s younger sons was responsible for expanding the empire beyond the borders of the city of Sukhothai.

Sukhothai 1

This younger son was also responsible for bringing Theravada Buddhism to Thailand. Under the Khmer, the official religion was Hinduism. The artisans of the Sukhothai Kingdom made the kingdom very wealthy. These artisans became famous throughout Southeast Asia. They produced a unique type of ceramic that used a green glaze. Their pottery was found in areas as distant as Indonesia and the Philippines. The king sent ambassadors to China to further enrich this trade and expand Sukhothai’s power even more. Beyond pottery, the Sukhothai Kingdom also gave birth to new forms of art and a distinct architectural style. The art of Sukhothai focused on portraying the Buddha in new, more artistic poses and styles.

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The architecture of Sukhothai was focused on brickwork and ornately decorated stucco with carvings. The city of Sukhothai was surrounded by 2-kilometer-long perimeter walls and contained multiple temples complexes each with ornate architecture.

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The residents of Sukhothai also built impressive waterworks. They built complex systems of canals reservoirs and dams to provide the Kingdom with water. The great Thai epic, the Traibhumikatha, which along with being an important work in Thai literature is one of the most important texts in Theravada Buddhism, was written in the Kingdom of Sukhothai highlighting the great cultural wealth of the kingdom. This wealth and power would not last, however. Another kingdom was gaining strength to the south of Sukhothai. The Ayutthaya Kingdom arose near the gulf of Thailand and also gained great power through trade and craftsmanship. Under the rule of King Boromaracha the first, parts of the Sukhothai kingdom would be conquered and more would continue to be conquered by later Ayutthaya kings until the entire Sukhothai kingdom was annexed by the middle of the 15th century. After this annexation, The Ayutthaya Kingdom would form the second Thai empire. The ruins of Sukhothai would eventually be forgotten. They were not rediscovered until 1793 when King Rama the First found the ruins. In 1801, King Rama brought statues from the old capital of Sukhothai to the new capital of Bangkok.



Thai Agriculture

By Gaeble Jones and Payton Hudson

Thailand is one of the top leading countries in the world for rice production and exports, though due to other competitors there has been a decline in the amount of rice being produced. This can drastically change the economy of the country because Thailand is dependent on rice crops bringing in money, which largely disrupts the population growth and agricultural expectations of Thailand as a whole.

Over half of the Thai population is rice farmers, who sell rice throughout the country and export it mainly to Nigeria, China, the United States, and Japan. The population has grown tremendously throughout the years creating land shortages which has decreased rice production. There has also been a steady incline in the cost of owning a rice farm creating less of a profit from the rice keeping their income low. Rice has become a cash crop opposed to a sustenance earning product. A cash crop is a product that is grown to sell for profit where sustenance crops are grown to feed themselves and their families (Hays, 2014).

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In 2014 Thailand passed India to become the number one leading export for rice production. In that year Thailand was responsible for 11 million tonnes of exported rice, passing India’s 10.9 million tonnes that year. In 2015 though, Thailand experienced a drought during monsoon season which is when most of the rice production is usually taking place. This dropped the Thai rice exports in 2015 to 9.2 million tonnes. In this same year India produced 11 million tonnes of rice. Because there was less rice exported in from Thailand 2015, consumers valued it more, making the price of rice increase in other countries where Thai rice is commonly exported to.

Thailand is rich with fertile soil that can produce crops in both semi-tropical and temperate areas. Thailand can grow a variety of different crops, including some that are classified as tropical and others that are not. The drought in 2015 also affected many of there other crops such as, sugarcane, kenaf, maize, tobacco, pineapples, cassava, etc. Though none of these crops led to the 10% decrease in export/production in the year 2015 as the rice did.

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In 2016 Thailand was able to produce another 300,000 tonnes of rice which brought them back up to 10.3 million tonnes for that year. That same year China became the largest purchaser of jasmine rice and broken white rice from Thailand. Both governments signed an agreement for 1 million tonnes of jasmine rice and 5% broken white rice to be saved, exported, and sold to China.

According to the Thailand National Statistical Office the agriculture in Thailand produces about $40 billion annually which is about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product for the year (Kawasaki, 2010). This keeps their economy in check and helps sustain a majority of the population. Without the rice farmers exporting the rice to other countries and within the population the economy would suffer and the rice production would decrease.

In 2017, the Thai government advertised that they are going to help rice farmers by handing out $2.2 billion to rice farmers across the country to continue production and decrease the amount of debt within these farms (Niyomyat, 2017). This money will help bring the farmers out of debt and allow them to use some of the rice for sustenance use instead of cash crops. This will help sustain the families with food and still allow them to sell and export the rice for money.

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Hays, J. (2014). Agriculture in thailand. Retrieved from -asia/Thailand/sub5_8h/entry-3319.html

Kawasaki, J. (2010). Thailand’s rice farmers adapt to climate change. Retreived from https://

Niyomyat, A. (2017). Thailand approves $2.2 billion in help for rice farmers. Retreived from

HIV in Thailand

By Katie Rees and Sara Mollner


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes the destruction of the body’s immune system by infecting the body’s normal white blood cell replication process. The process of the virus destroying the body’s immune system allow for other infections and cancers to develop and grow. If left untreated, HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is end stage and fatal. For the virus to become categorized as AIDS there needs to be the development of respiratory infections such as pneumonia, cancer such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and muscle wasting or weight loss or other opportunistic infection development. Mortality from the virus usually is a result from such secondary infections. The virus can be spread from sexual contact, blood, and breast milk (UNAIDs, 2018, p. 2.)

While HIV used to be a fatal diagnosis in the 1980’s due to little treatment and knowledge about the disease, that is no longer the case. Over the past two decades, major global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic and significant progress has been made. The number of people newly infected with HIV, especially children, and the number of AIDS-related deaths has declined over the years, and the number of people with HIV receiving treatment increased in 2017.

The topic of HIV in Thailand is important because it is one of the highest of HIV prevalence in Asia and the Pacific, accounting for 9% of the region’s total population of people living with HIV (Avert, 2018.) Thailand’s HIV epidemic is concentrated among certain key populations. Those most affected are men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and those sharing needles for the use of drugs. Spouses of these populations, migrants and prisoners are also more vulnerable to HIV than others. The prevalence of HIV and HIV related deaths are on the decline in Thailand due to successful prevention and outreach programs. From 2005 – 2016 HIV related deaths dropped by almost two-thirds (Avert, 2018.)

Thailand has one of the steepest drops of HIV transmissions in the Asia and Pacific region, which is largely related to their prevention and outreach programs. These programs include: free condoms nationwide, HIV education with more comprehensive sex education courses, preventing mother-to-child transmission, harm reduction and PrEP (Loleka, 2016, p. 1.) Thailand also provides free antiretroviral treatment as part of the country’s universal health care insurance.


While Thailand is making successful strides toward lowering the HIV epidemic, there are some notable barriers to treatment. Some barriers include HIV stigma and prejudice, structural and resource barriers and adherence, and education toward the younger population. While HIV has greatly reduced in sex workers due to condom distribution, but barriers still exist with drug use and stigma toward the LGBTQ community. Thailand is a beautiful, resourceful place that will continue to try and do what is right to end this merciless epidemic and preserve the value that is human life and dignity.


Prasithsirikul, W., Chongthawonsatid, S., Ohata, P. J., Keadpudsa, S., Klinbuayaem, V., Rerksirikul, P., … Avihingsanon, A. (2017). Depression and anxiety were low amongst virally suppressed, long-term treated HIV-infected individuals enrolled in a public sector antiretroviral program in Thailand. AIDS Care, 29(3), 299–305.

Rolland-Guillard, L., de La Rochebrochard, E., Sirirungsi, W., Kanabkaew, C., Breton, D., & Le Coeur, S. (2019). Reproductive health, social life and plans for the future of adolescents growing-up with HIV: a case-control study in Thailand. AIDS Care, 31(1), 90–94.

Lolekha, R., Boonsuk, S., Plipat, T., Martin, M., Tonputsa, C., Punsuwan, N., … Mekton, S. (2016). Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV – Thailand. MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 65(22), 562–566.

Published: Jan 28, 2. (2019, March 13). The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. Retrieved from

HIV and AIDS in Thailand. (2018, November 14). Retrieved from

Kaiser, H. J. (2019, March 13). The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. Global Health Policy. Retrieved from

UNAIDS, NAC., & Thai National AIDS Committee. (2018, November 14). HIV and AIDS in Thailand.  Retrieved from

Siraprapasiri, T., Ongwangdee, S., Benjarattanaporn, P., Peerapat Anapokin, W., & Sharma, M. (2016). The impact of Thailand’s public health response to the HIV epidemic 1984-2015: understanding the ingredients of success. Journal of virus eradication, (Suppl 4), 7–14.


Thai Royalty

 By Missy Crittenden & Abby Paine

Chakri Dynasty

The Chakkri Dynasty (also spelled Chakri), has been the ruling house of Thailand since 1782 (Chakkri Dynasty).  Rama I, originally a military commander with the title Chao Phraya Chakri, became King of Thailand following the execution of the previous ruler, Taskin (Hume, 2018).  Rama I played a very important role in the Burmese-Siamese War.  Once Taskin became King, Chao Phraya Chakri spent almost an entire decade leading Thai armies, in the northern provinces, in order to repel the Burmese soldiers (Rama I).  He helped to establish Siamese suzerainty over Laos, Cambodia, and throughout the northern Malay states (meaning they are unable to take international action unless approved by the Siamese ruler) (Rama I).  Unfortunately, Taskin, who had at one point been a close friend of Chao Phraya Chakri, was thought of as half-insane by many of his close advisors (Rama I).  This sparked a rebellion leading to his beheading, Chao Phraya Chakri assumed the throne soon after.

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          Rama I was responsible for moving the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok and undertook a revitalization of the Thai institutions of public life (Rama I).  He is accredited with strengthening the Buddhist monkhood by convening a general synod in order to define the orthodox Buddhist scriptures (Rama I).  In addition, he initiated and completed the first codification of Thai law in 1805 (Rama I).  Rama I is remembered fondly by the citizens of Thailand, there is even a public holiday to commemorate him.

“Chakri Memorial Day” is a public holiday, celebrated on April 6 each year, to commemorate the founder/founding of the Chakri Dynasty (“All You Need to Know About Chakri Day”).  While it is a celebration of Rama I, the people of Thailand also recognize other contributions made by previous and current rulers in the Chakri Dynasty (“Chakri Memorial Day 2020”).  The day is celebrated through various religious ceremonies held at the royal chapel.  The King, along with other members of the monarchy, preside over these ceremonies (“Chakri Memorial Day 2020”).  The King also holds a ceremony at Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is considered the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand (“Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok”).  Within the temple, the King pays respects to his ancestors that reigned before him, they all have life size statues in the temple.  He then lays a wreath at the statue of King Rama I as another important sign of respect. Wat 

Death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

The previous king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, took the throne shortly after World War II and reigned for more than 70 years (Crossette, 2016). He was a unifying figure across the country with his portrait in almost every shop and billboards stating “Long Live the King” expressing the population’s anxiety as his health declined (Crossette, 2016). Bhumibol Adulyadej transformed Thailand during his reign from a mostly agriculture economy into a modernized, upper-income country (Crossette, 2016; Holmes, 2016). After his passing on October 13, 2016, the crowd outside the Siriraj hospital cried and hugged each other (Holmes, 2016). Citizens had been wearing yellow – the king’s color – and pink – the symbol for the monarch’s wellbeing – when standing outside the hospital (Holmes, 2016). The life and Rule of Thailands’s King

Bhumibol met his wife, Queen Sirikit, in Paris and the two were married in 1950, the same year King Bhumibol was crowned Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty (Crossette, 2016). The couple had four children together, three daughters and one son (Crossette, 2016). Their son, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, was crowned king after his father’s passing (Holmes, 2016). However, he does not hold the same level of popularity and admiration as his father did (Holmes, 2016). Nonetheless, Thailand has a strict lése-majesté law that makes criticism of the royal family punishable by years in jail, which makes it difficult to determine the citizens’ true opinion of the new king (Holmes, 2016). king 2

Maha Vajiralongkorn Controversy

Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was born to be king and attended Australia’s Duntroon military college where he trained and received multiple military titles (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). However, he shows little interest in public duties and instead has created a reputation of womanizing, extravagance, and occasional cruelty, even to his own children (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). Several of his children have had their titles stripped and now live in exile due to Maha’s bitterness (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). There have been many other instances where the new king Maha Vajiralongkorn has behaved in ways that make him unfit to rule (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). For example, he made his pet poodle Foo Foo an air chief marshal in the Thai military (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). In 2010, it was leaked that the Thai privy council openly discussed their worry about Vajiralongkorn (Thailand’s Heir, 2016). Andrew Marshall, a British journalist who has extensively covered the Thai monarchy, says, “In my view, it is probable that we will face a so-called hard landing in terms of Thailand’s transition after Bhumibol’s death. Instead of a soft landing of peaceful evolution towards a democratic constitutional monarchy, we are likely to see a violent transition.” (Thailand’s Heir, 2016).king 3



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Thai Traditional Medicine

By Serena Blake and Caitlin Johnson

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Philosophy of Thai Traditional Medicine

In Thai traditional medicine it is believed that the four elements need to be in balance for a person to be healthy. The four elements being; Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. Thai traditional medicine is a more holistic approach to medicine such as using massage and herbal remedies. Much of the philosophy surrounding Thai medicine is through Ayurveda which is based on keeping the flow of energy through the meridians of the body. The overall belief is that it is important to have harmony between both the mind and the body.

History of Thai Traditional Medicine

            The origin of Thai medicine is believed to have started with Shivago Komarpaj, who was a historical figure that served Buddha and his community of monks and nuns as their physician. In turn, he gains a God like status within the religion and is mentioned in the scriptures as Father Doctor.

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Later, in the 16th century when King Narai ruled Siam in Ayutthaya, he opened hospitals and herbal dispensaries. Soon after was the fall of Ayutthaya and the founding of Bangkok, King Rama III started to promote ethno-healing (range of healthcare systems/structures, practices, beliefs, and therapeutic techniques that arise from indigenous cultural development) and established the school Wat Pho. After interest in this type of medicine starting to dwindle, the government and people started to turn toward western medicine.

In 1927 the World Health Organization started to promote the conservation of ethno-heritage. The Ministry of Health then started to revive the indigenous treatments which led to the Foundation for the Promotion of Thai Traditional Medicine. Again there was another boost to using traditional methods during WWII with the lack of getting the amount of drugs they needed, the government resorted to herbal methods. Over the years the interest in Thai traditional medicine and holistic healing has been continuously growing.

Thai Traditional Medicine in Modern day

In Thai culture today traditional medicine is still in common practice and the interest is continually growing.  Often, Thai people prefer to seek out medicine from local healers and traditional massage therapists over Western medicinal practices. Traditional medicine has increasingly been found in hospitals in Thailand. In these hospitals licensed professionals or medicine people perform herbalism and massage therapy.

Massage therapy is regarded as the most powerful form of therapy. Thai massage combines acupressure, body massage, and stretching, without the use of oils. There are many health benefits to massage therapy including, lowering levels of stress, boosting energy, relieving headaches, stimulating circulation and improving range of motion. This practice is performed on the concept of “energy lines”, called sen. Sen nourishes the body with vital force through 10 major lines. The massage therapist works with the specific lines based on the patient’s condition. Thai massage therapy is not only popular in Thailand, but has grown increasingly popular in western countries as well.

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In Thai culture the use of medicinal herbs is not only used to heal ailments, but also to flavor foods. In Thailand they love to combine different flavors. The spices double as flavoring but are also said to have curative properties, as well as balance the four elements. Some of the common herbs and plans used are basil, which is an antibacterial and relieves cold symptoms, constipation and indigestion, garlic, which treats colds coughs and bronchitis, fresh fruits and coconut, which remove toxins by flushing the kidneys and liver. There are many other flavors and plants used in Thai cooking that have different effects.


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