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Time for Thailand to 'stand on its own two feet' in HIV/Aids fight

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WORLD AIDS DAY
Time for Thailand to 'stand on its own two feet' in HIV/Aids fight

Chularat Saengpassa
Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Nation

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BANGKOK: -- PREVIOUSLY LAUDED as a successful country in combating the Aids epidemic, Thailand's attempt to fight HIV/Aids is facing a big challenge as funding support from international agencies continues to drop.

This concern, raised by health advocates, has prompted the National Aids Committee to consider setting up an Aids Prevention Fund, supported by domestic financial resources, to support its campaign.

Aids activists worry that the reduced international budget will affect their massive HIV campaign - the launching of HIV-testing mobile units in 30 provinces to help people know their HIV status and to get earlier treatment.

"The HIV/Aids-prevention campaign has deteriorated during the past few years," said Dr Sorakij Bhakeecheep, director of the National Health Security Office's Bureau of Secretary and Tertiary Care Support.

The reason: Thailand faces financial problems caused by the external financial donors reducing their support.

In 2011, the country's spending on HIV/Aids-prevention was only 13 per cent of the total national Aids programme. It mainly relied on external resources like the Global Fund, an international financing institution to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Most money under the fund was distributed to non-governmental organisations working on HIV/Aids.

In 2010, Thailand's expenditure on the campaign was Bt7.7 billion, and in 2011 Bt9.9 billion. About 73 per cent of this amount was allocated for treatment and 13 per cent on prevention.

During 2003 to 2008, as a low-income country, Thailand received about US$170 million (Bt5.4 billion) in funding to support campaigns and activities against HIV/Aids. As Thailand was classified as a low middle-income country by the World Bank, it was eligible for funding support for the HIV/Aids-prevention programme by the Global Fund. The allocation was based on the recipient's financial condition and HIV/Aids prevalence, as well as the effectiveness of disease-control programmes.

When the World Bank placed Thailand in the middle-income country category for 2011-2014, Thailand won only $63 million for HIV/Aids-prevention programmes.

The amount is set to fall further due to the country-ranking upgrade by the World Bank. Thailand will be allowed only 30 per cent of the total fund of the Global Fund. That means Thailand has to consider relying more and more on domestic financial resources.

"Of course, non-government organisations would face a crisis as their financial resources also relied mainly on international donors like the Global Fund," said Dr Nakorn Premsri, a director of the principal recipient administrative office of Thailand's Global Fund.

Nimitr Tian-udom, director of the Aids Access Foundation, said his organisation now plans to expand the HIV-testing mobile units programme to 30 provinces. People who test positive would be able to get the anti-retroviral treatment at an earlier stage.

Because of the lack of funds, channels to communicate with people for such a service are limited, he said.

To boost the campaign against HIV/Aids in Thailand, the National Aids Committee has initiated the setting up of a national Aids fund to support both governmental and non-governmental agencies' work on HIV/Aids-prevention programmes. They aim to reduce new HIV infections from 10,000 cases per year to 2,000 cases within five years.

Citing calculations by the Disease Control Department, Sorakij said the government would allocate Bt200 million to Bt300 million for the first year of the fund's establishment.

The spending under this fund would focus on preventing the spread of disease among the key affected populations - such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drug users and teenagers.

Nakorn also supported the idea of setting up the Aids Prevention Fund, saying it was time for Thailand to rely on its internal financial resources.

"We should no longer depend on external resources forever. We should take ...advantage of this crisis and think about how to stand on our own two feet," he said.

The general secretary of the Rak Thai Foundation, Promboon Panichpak, commented that the foundation's attempts to fund an HIV/Aids campaign had been in a rocky state for years.

Fortunately, the foundation has managed to get funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS for about a decade now for its HIV/Aids campaign, which also assists migrant workers.

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-- The Nation 2013-11-28

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Foreign governments and organistaions should stop funding or providing support for any AIDs or HIV related programmes in Thailand as most Thais are generally exenophobic and are not even grateful for these foreign aid.

Most Thai doctors that I have come across expecially those from the local thai red cross are so arrogant that they think they know it all.

The amount of infected locals with HIV in thailand is not 450,000 but more realistically about 1.6 million people.

The local gay community has the highest infection rates of about one of of every two local gays. Most of this is attributed to their reckless behaviour of promiscuity and indulging in unprotected sex.Most of them have an impression that as long as they avoid foreigners and only have sex withing themselves, they are safe! As far as i am concerned, even the local government or local red cross should not provide any free or subsidised treatment to this group as its a self created problem and they need to take responsibility for it.

There is also an interesting trend among thai men these days, as more and more of them are getting lazy to work for a decent living, they prefer fast money by selling themselves online to even other gay customers though they may be straight themselves. As such you can see many selling their arse in site like gboysiam, violetball, etc. (Hilarious actually!)

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Yet again a gem of bigotry from Aryan ...... I won't hazard to guess why he's the way he is but his "only having sex with themselves" seems quite telling .......

I miss the days of Meechai, when education and prevention were done so well in Thailand. You couldn't leave a military base without seeing a sign that reminded soldiers to use a condom every time! Condom distribution was free and their use encouraged. NGO's like SWING got going and started educating sex workers. I ran into them one night out in Pradipat. They were awesome! It was on December 1st (World AIDS day) and they were all volunteers that were college students and were reaching out to the MSM community.

I agree that Thailand needs to step up its game again and to not localize it in BKK/Pattaya/HKT etc. Education and prevention needs to start in the schools and start young. De-stigmatizing the disease will help people get tested and treatment earlier. Patent breaking needs to be done wherever it will benefit.

Remember we need to all be doing more and not just on December 1st!

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Educating the doctors should be a priority. Their lack of knowledge leaves much to be desired - and not a few dead bodies. GPO-VIR is not a cure all but merely a stop gap. There are many more effective medications available now but seemingly available only if you can afford them.

Putting price controls on the medications dispensed by the private hospitals would be more than welcome. The practice of profiteering from the sale of life saving drugs is sickening.

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Aryanic What a bigoted ass you are. Your comments are based on total ignorance. As you profess to know so

much about the gay community I think you are probably a closet gay.

Your opinion on Thai doctors is so far from the truth. I have found Doctors in Thailand to be helpful professional and

polite in both the private and national sectors.

Bagwan You are of course correct, there are a number of medicines far better than the tablets given at present. However the

cost is prohibitive so the clinics are faced with being able to treat everyone as opposed to treating a few.

One area where they could make a useful change is the level where the treatment is started. At present no one is given tablets

until their CD4 is 200. If they changed this to a CD4 of 300 it may well save some expense in peripheral illness.

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Foreign governments and organistaions should stop funding or providing support for any AIDs or HIV related programmes in Thailand as most Thais are generally exenophobic and are not even grateful for these foreign aid.

Most Thai doctors that I have come across expecially those from the local thai red cross are so arrogant that they think they know it all.

The amount of infected locals with HIV in thailand is not 450,000 but more realistically about 1.6 million people.

The local gay community has the highest infection rates of about one of of every two local gays. Most of this is attributed to their reckless behaviour of promiscuity and indulging in unprotected sex.Most of them have an impression that as long as they avoid foreigners and only have sex withing themselves, they are safe! As far as i am concerned, even the local government or local red cross should not provide any free or subsidised treatment to this group as its a self created problem and they need to take responsibility for it.

There is also an interesting trend among thai men these days, as more and more of them are getting lazy to work for a decent living, they prefer fast money by selling themselves online to even other gay customers though they may be straight themselves. As such you can see many selling their arse in site like gboysiam, violetball, etc. (Hilarious actually!)

I take issue with nearly every single statement you just made.

Top 5:

• You calling anyone xenophobic seems ironic

• Basing medical aid on whether or not the patient is perceived as "grateful" is childish and dangerous.

• It is irresponsible and/or stupid to provide a statistic as shocking as 50% of all gay men being infected without any sort of source.

• How do you have such intimate knowledge of the gay community when you clearly have nothing but disgust for them?

• Your entire final paragraph was self-contradicting and mildly retarded.

Edited by BeforeTigers

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