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Older People and AIDS: Quantitative Evidence of the Impact in Thailand

Publication Abstract

PDF Knodel, John E., Mark VanLandingham, Chanpen Saengtienchai, and Wassana Im-em. 2000. "Older People and AIDS: Quantitative Evidence of the Impact in Thailand." PSC Research Report No. 00-443. 1 2000.

Discussions of the AIDS epidemic rarely consider the impact on older persons and when they do, focus is typically on those who are infected themselves. Virtually no systematic quantitative assessments exist of the involvement of parents or other older generation relatives in the living and caretaking arrangements of persons with AIDS in either the West or the developing world. We assess the extent of such types of involvement in Thailand and examine the parental characteristics associated with them. Interviews with local key informants in the public health system in an extensive sample of rural and urban communities provided quantitative information on a total of 963 adult cases who either had died of AIDS or were currently symptomatic. The results indicate that a substantial proportion of persons with AIDS move back to their communities of origin at some stage of the illness. Two-thirds of the adults who died of AIDS either lived with or adjacent to a parent by the terminal stage of illness and a parent, usually the mother, acted as a main caregiver for about half. For 70 percent, either a parent or other older generation relative provided at least some care. The vast majority of the parents were age 50 or more and many were age 60 or older. This extent of older generation involvement appears to be far greater than in Western countries such as the US. We interpret the difference as reflecting the contrasting epidemiological and socio-cultural situations in Thailand and the West. The fact that older people in Thailand, and probably many other developing countries, are extensively impacted by the AIDS epidemic through their involvement with their infected adult children has important implications for public health programs that address caretaker education and social and economic support.

Keywords:
AIDS, Older Persons, Thailand, Caregiving, Living Arrangements

Later Issued As:
Knodel, John E., Mark VanLandingham, Chanpen Saengtienchai, and Wassana Im-em. 2001. "Older People and AIDS: Quantitative Evidence of the Impact in Thailand." Social Science and Medicine, 52(9): 1313-1327. DOI. Abstract.

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