PRESS RELEASE: Singer Chalatit Tantiwut appointed UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Thailand
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has appointed the popular singer and television personality Chalatit Tantiwut as UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for Thailand. Mr Chalatit is an icon for the gay community and will help raise awareness and promote greater use of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM).
The announcement of his appointment was made on 1 July at a special National HIV Testing Day event hosted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Deputy Governor Phusadee Tamthai was among the first to congratulate him.
“I am honoured to be working with UNAIDS in this new role as National Goodwill Ambassador,” said Mr Chalatit. “As a gay man, I am concerned that the AIDS epidemic is striking hard the gay community in Thailand. It is my hope to help end the AIDS epidemic by intensifying efforts to ensure everyone accesses the services they need and no-one is left behind.”
Thailand has made immense progress in its AIDS response with new infections dropping 56% since 2005. At the same time there is a continuing epidemic among men who have sex with men, especially in large urban areas. BMA’s department of health reports that in 2014, HIV prevalence among MSM was 28.6% in Bangkok which was much higher than among the general population.
“Music is a powerful platform to reach people and the UNAIDS family is thrilled to work with one of Thailand’s most popular singers,” said Tatiana Shoumilina, UNAIDS Country Director for Thailand. “By letting the music speak out Mr Chalatit will help make a meaningful difference in the lives of people and advance Thailand’s efforts towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”
Mr Chalatit’s powerful voice and flamboyant style have entranced Thailand’s music scene for more than a decade. He has recorded numerous hits and has also acted in movies and television series.