Discussing the issues and facts head-on in order to reduce HIV-related stigma in Thailand
This week, in the run up to World AIDS Day on Friday (1 December 2017), our partner in Thailand is broadcasting live on Facebook over four days, in order reduce stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.
Topics include safe sex, condom use and access to HIV treatment, in order to raise public awareness of HIV, and the daily issues affecting people living with HIV. Somwong Uraiwatana, deputy director of the AIDS Access Foundation, and the project lead wants to “lessen social stigma” which results in thousands of working-age people being rejected by employers each year.
“We will discuss how to go on after you find out that you are living with HIV,” says Somwong. “And we will discuss what has happened to many in the same condition whose jobs were adversely impacted.”
“We will talk about the fight of people living with HIV to gain access to free treatment. The previous situation, during which those living with HIV had no access to costly antiretroviral drugs led to hundreds of thousands of deaths over the years.”
Thailand’s Disease Control Department reported in 2016 that 430,000 people were living with HIV, with an annual new infection rate of 7,700 and annual fatality rate of 15,000 people.