Public health in Thailand improved greatly in the second half of the twentieth century. In the late 1990s the life expectancy for men was 65 years; for women it was 73 years. In 1960 the life expectancy for both men and women had been only 51 years. Much of this increase was due to a successful struggle against malaria, which had once been the number one cause of
Of major concern to health officials is the issue of drinking water. Bangkok has the highest access to safe drinking water of any region in the country, but fully 40 percent of Bangkok's residents have little access to uncontaminated public water, forcing many of the city's poor to drink from rainwater pooled in shallow wells or collected from roof drainage. Others resort to drinking from the polluted rivers and canals.
Reported cases of AIDS were on the rise at the end of the twentieth century. Much of this rise was blamed on the fact that prostitution is accepted and widespread in Bangkok.