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THAILAND - May 29, 2003

A UN-sponsored survey of Thai male sex workers has revealed to the general public that many more married men and women have been utilizing male prostitutes than generally believed.

Researcher Dr. Suporn Koetsawang, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Siriraj Hospital, expressed concern about negative health and social issues highlighted by his research.

Condom by customers and sex workers use was found to be sporadic. In addition, sex workers also used each other's services to as a means of stress relief.

Thai Red Cross spokesman, Rapeepun Jommaroeng, said that the government's recent high-profile "social order" campaign against nightclubs has worsened the problem, driving prostitutes to look for customers in public places and making them reluctant to use condoms for fear that they might be collected as evidence of wrong-doing in police raids. Some gay saunas have also ceased to provide condoms to their customers for the same reason.

Nearly half of all male customers were business professionals, followed by government workers and others in the sex industry.

100 male sex workers were polled from massage and karaoke clubs, cocktail lounges, saunas and bars.



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