Bhutan’s HIV epidemic is small relative to its neighbours, with 270 cumulative reported cases since the first case was detected in 1993. Presently, an estimated 988 people (or below 0.1 percent of the adult population) are livingwith HIV in Bhutan, making it a low-prevalence country. A recent behavioural assessment in two major towns found evidence of high-risk behaviour among key affected populations, including MSM.
The National STI and HIV AIDS Prevention and Control Programme (NACP) was established in 1988, five years before HIV was first detected in the country. Bhutan’s HIV response continues to be led by the 2004 Royal Decree on HIV Prevention, delivered by the Fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and subsequent proclamations of support. In 2005, the Fifth King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, advocated for abstinence and urged Bhutan’s youth to “use their strength of character to reject undesirable activities.”