Thailand has been quite successful at improving its economy for the last three decades. It now has an abundant workforce and the standard of living is greatly improved – 11% of the population lives in poverty, down from 57% percent in 1962.
But in spite of its economic strengths and a move toward universal health care, Thailand posts significant HIV transmission rates among at-risk populations, notably injecting drug users (IDU) and men who have sex with men (MSM).
PSI began Thailand operations to focus on HIV prevention and opened the O-Zone Drop-In Center to promote healthier behaviors for injection drug users (IDUs) in Chiang Mai in 2003. The O-Zone program has measurably improved healthy behaviors among IDUs. Those who were significantly exposed to the program reduced needle sharing from 18.58% in 2004 to 8.8% in 2006 – effectively reducing the risk of the transmission for this group.
Past successes helped PSI/Thailand secure funding from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A five-year (2009-2014) grant is helping fund a nationwide promotion of PSI/Thailand’s IDU and Transgender programs.
- Health Areas
- Health Impact
PSI/Thailand estimates that in 2010, its products and services helped avert:
- 1,078 HIV & TB DALYs
- 59 Reproductive Health DALYs
- Health Interventions
- Improving Health in Thailand
Thailand reduced HIV incidence in the 1990s with programs that targeted the commercial sex industry. However, risk remains high for Thai IDUs and Transgenders. PSI/Thailand provides HIV prevention products, services and communications for these vulnerable groups through the O-Zone project for IDUs and the Sisters project for Transgenders.
With support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria PSI Thailand, in its role as Principal Recipient, will support the implementation of outreach activities to IDUs through fifteen drop-in centers around Thailand. These will be managed by O-Zone and project implementing partners. PSI Thailand will also expand activities and services to Transgenders in Pattaya through its Sisters program.
Communications are tailored to promote healthy behaviors to each group. High-quality, affordable or freely-distributed products and services include:
- Water-based lubricants.
- Sterile injecting equipment.
- Voluntary counseling and testing.
- A comprehensive system of referrals for care and treatment.
PSI has a strong focus on measuring results and uses annual tracking surveys to closely monitor HIV risk behaviors among the populations it serves. Tracking surveys found that current and former IDUs and Transgenders use the O-Zone and Sisters Drop-in Centers for social support to maintain healthy behaviors, as well as to access quality health products and services.
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