HIV/AIDS PREVENTION & CARE PROJECT

2008 – PRESENT

HIV/AIDS PREVENTION
& CARE PROJECT

2008 – PRESENT

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Thailand’s first reported case of HIV infection occurred in 1984 and has since seen over one million people infected with HIV. At the height of this campaign in 2009, there were 530,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) in Thailand and 28,000 AIDS-related fatalities. However, new infections have been falling, with 10,097 cases reported in 2011, and the Thai government has begun offering free anti-retroviral agents.

Nonetheless, 65% of those requiring treatments in Thailand were able to access medical care. In the areas where the Foundation (as SHARE Thailand) carries out its activities, many workers migrate to cities or to fishing areas, with several returning home not realizing they were infected with HIV, leading to several cases of sexual transmission between partners and from mother to child. Mounting social problems include discrimination against HIV-positive people, orphans, and bereaved families of AIDS patients, economic instability, and difficulty accessing medical care.

The Foundation initiated HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities in Thailand’s northeastern border provinces of Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen. In 2008, we further collaborated with the Khemarat district hospital, emphasizing the capacity building of target groups, such as MSM (Men Who Have Sex with Men), sex workers, youths, as well as community leaders. This approach empowers local stakeholders to independently tackle HIV/AIDS issues, instilling in them a sense of ownership and responsibility for personal and community well-being.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Thailand’s first reported case of HIV infection occurred in 1984 and has since seen over one million people infected with HIV. At the height of this campaign in 2009, there were 530,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) in Thailand and 28,000 AIDS-related fatalities. However, new infections have been falling, with 10,097 cases reported in 2011, and the Thai government has begun offering free anti-retroviral agents.

Nonetheless, 65% of those requiring treatments in Thailand were able to access medical care. In the areas where the Foundation (as SHARE Thailand) carries out its activities, many workers migrate to cities or to fishing areas, with several returning home not realizing they were infected with HIV, leading to several cases of sexual transmission between partners and from mother to child. Mounting social problems include discrimination against HIV-positive people, orphans, and bereaved families of AIDS patients, economic instability, and difficulty accessing medical care.

The Foundation initiated HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities in Thailand’s northeastern border provinces of Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen. In 2008, we further collaborated with the Khemarat district hospital, emphasizing the capacity building of target groups, such as MSM (Men Who Have Sex with Men), sex workers, youths, as well as community leaders. This approach empowers local stakeholders to independently tackle HIV/AIDS issues, instilling in them a sense of ownership and responsibility for personal and community well-being.

PROJECT SITE

Ubonratchathani Province, Thailand
(Population: 1.87 million)

  • Khemarat District
    (Population: 80,000)
  • Na Tan District
    (Population: 35,000)
  • Pho Sai District
    (Population: 42,000)
  • Kut Khaopun District
    (Population: 40,000)
  • Warin Chamrap District
    (Population: 156,000)

TARGET GROUPS

PLWHA
(People Living
with HIV/AIDS)

MSM
(Men Who Have
Sex with Men)

Lao Migrant
Workers
& Sex Workers

Youths

Community
Residents

PLWHA

(People Living with HIV/AIDS)

MSM

(Men Who Have Sex with Men)

Lao Migrant Workers & Sex Workers

Youths

Community Residents

STAKEHOLDERS

Local
Government

Hospitals &
Clinics

Schools

Village Health
Volunteers

Military & Police

Places of
Worship

Local Businesses

Local Government

Hospitals & Clinics

Schools

Village Health Volunteers

Military & Police

Places of Worship

Local Businesses

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Decrease the number of people who contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV, while increasing access to holistic care (mental, social, physical) for PLWHA and other target groups affected by HIV/AIDS.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Khemarat hospital in collaboration with community leaders and health-related sectors will have developed holistic care and support systems for PLWHAs and others affected by HIV/AIDS.

Sex workers and immigrants will have increased access to health services, basic needs, and a safer working environment.

MSM will have increased access to STD and HIV/AIDS information and prevention tools.

Community residents will have the knowledge and skills to work together towards solving and preventing HIV/AIDS-related issues in their community.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

1.  Meetups & Home Visits for PLWHA

With training and support from Foundation staff and local hospitals, leaders of the PLWHA self-help group, Mitrapap Rim Khong, and their families hold monthly meetings to share accurate knowledge about HIV/AIDS and relevant treatments, while members consult and support each other. Hospital staff could provide health examinations, counseling, and anti-retroviral drugs. Meetings for HIV/AIDS-affected children are also held regularly on a continual basis, where they can play games, make friends, and open up to each other.

For members who are unable to attend the monthly meeting, PLWHA group leaders conduct home visits to perform health checks and educate them and their family members on their health and the proper use of anti-retroviral drugs. These home visits have contributed to a high ratio of proper medication by PLWHAs in project areas.

2.  Leadership Training & Prophylactics for MSM

MSM (men who have sex with men) are at high risk of HIV infection, but there were no NGO or MSM groups engaged in HIV/AIDS-related activities in Khemarat prior to the Foundation’s intervention. Our staff recruited and trained MSMs who were interested in anti-AIDS activities, several of whom went on to organize their own groups to disseminate vital health information.

3.  Mobile Clinics for Lao Migrant Workers & Sex Workers

Lao migrant/sex workers suffer from inadequate access to medical care and often do not accurately understand HIV/AIDS. The Foundation has cooperated with hospitals, public health officials, and karaoke bar managers to operate mobile clinics and conduct health exams and HIV screening while providing information on women’s health and STD prevention to the sex workers, their clients, and the bar managers.

4.  Sex Education & Skills Development for Youths

Over half of the HIV-positive population are ages 25–34, but most patients are diagnosed after reporting symptoms of AIDS, which can occur 10 years after the initial infection. Given the high rate of teenage pregnancy in northeastern Thailand, youths in the region are at risk of STD/HIV infection. The Foundation provides sex education for Thai youths at schools and community venues while supporting human resource development among youth and community leaders, village health volunteers, and others to strengthen self-reliance.

5.  AIDS Prevention & Awareness for Community Residents

At village events and on World AIDS Day, our staff supports anti-AIDS campaigns alongside local authorities, volunteer groups, HIV-positive support groups, MSM groups, and Lao migrant workers. Activities include parading banners with handwritten messages about AIDS, distributing condoms, and participating in school activities and other events to raise awareness of HIV prevention and combat the stigma against PLWHA.