| stated that majority of the population had no problem accessing to sanitation and potable water. Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) continues to plague Thailand. The Thai government has funded various nationwide programs/efforts to fight the epidemic (backed with strong political will); as observed by United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in November 2004. It has yielded positive results with national adult HIV prevalence dropped to a remarkable 1.5 percent among those aged 15-49 (or around 1.8% for entire population). Since the first report HIV/AIDS case back I 1984, it was believed that the epidemic had claimed 58,000 lives (both adults and children). More government support structures are in place today for HIV/AIDS victims, and at the same time, government has also contributed funds to non-government HIV/AIDS support groups. The national programs have been credited to instill responsibility to unsafe sexual behavior, but HIV/AIDS patients continues to be discriminated against and stigmatized in this country. A nation-wide antiretroviral drug program has also been started by the government and by September 2006, the drug has reached over 80,000 of HIV/AIDS patients. Another threat is also looming with the detection of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu) on birds found in Thailand and close proximity. The government is focused on preventative measures and has funded programs that are designed to effect changes on poultry farming techniques. Some other major infectious diseases are bacterial diarrhea, dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, leptospirosis. Japanese encephalitis, and rabies.
When Thailand implemented universal coverage across the country in 2001, it became one of the very few lower-middle income countries to have such comprehensive insurance scheme. This new insurance scheme (it was initially introduced as the 30 baht project, referring to the small and subsidized co-payment required for treatment) took over the previous means-tested healthcare intended for households in the lower income bracket. A 'gold card' is to be distributed to any Thai resident who opts to join the scheme. The gold card would, in turn, allow unrestricted access to health care services, be it at the local health district or any referred specialist treatment at any part of the country. This is a government funded insurance scheme with the Contracting Units for Primary Care made responsible for the fund located by the government every year. World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2004, 65% of the country's expenses related to healthcare were contributed by the public sector with the remaining 35% attributed to private sector. Even though then may be detractors to the national insurance scheme, it has benefited many Thais; especially those live in rural provinces and fall into the lower income bracket. The scheme was also able to survive the 2006 military coup which forced a government change. It was at that time that Public Health Minister, Mongkol Na Songkhla, decided to do away with the 30 baht co-payment requirement and officially embarked on a free universal coverage service. In the meantime, with the new coalition government in January 2008, it remains unclear if the UC (universal care) scheme has to undergo further modification.