Living with HIV/AIDS in Thailand: Results from a self-administered Survey
Survey data collected during 1999 and 2000 of 424 young adults with HIV and/or AIDS (PHAs) recruited primarily from support groups in northern Thailand and Bangkok explore symptoms, treatments, care taking arrangements, migration history and plans, and community reaction. Seventy one percent of the entire group report receiving some type of modern treatment or "western medicine." Among those reporting HIV related symptoms, men are more likely to receive treatment and modern treatment than are women, but not when the analysis is limited to those reporting at least one of the most serious outcomes. Little difference was found in access to treatment across our categories of socioeconomic status. Use of specific conventional treatments used in the west, such as anti retroviral therapy, treatment of opportunistic infections, and palliative care are rarely reported by this sample in response to an open ended question about types of modern treatments received. Herbal remedies and meditation are commonly reported. Two thirds of the group report total expenditures for treatment to be less than $125. The government health card insurance program is reported by 40% of those residing outside of Bangkok as their major source of medical payment. Mothers play key care taking roles for many of the unmarried, and are expected to play major care taking roles for many married and unmarried PHAs in the future should the health of the PHA worsen. Community reaction is variable, but is generally reported as less favorable towards men, Bangkok residents, and those at the extremes of the socioeconomic spectrum. Implications of the findings for the anticipated expansion of treatment protocols are discussed.
AIDS; migration; care giving; treatments; community reaction; stigma, knodel