Older-Age Parents and the AIDS Epidemic in Thailand: Changing Impacts in the Era of Antiretroviral Therapy
Knodel, John E., Jiraporn Kespichayawattana, Chanpen Saengtienchai, and Suvinee Wiwatwanich. 2010. "Older-Age Parents and the AIDS Epidemic in Thailand: Changing Impacts in the Era of Antiretroviral Therapy." UN ESCAP ReportUN ESCAP.
Previous research in developing countries, conducted when HIV inevitably lead to debilitating illness and certain death, documented both major adverse emotional, economic, and social consequences of the epidemic for older family members, especially parents of infected adults. At the same time, the research made clear that older persons contributed substantially to how societies coped with the epidemic by providing personal care, emotional support and material assistance to their infected sons and daughters and foster care to their orphaned grandchildren. In recent years, increasing access to effective Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) is transforming HIV/AIDS into a chronic but manageable condition and thus significantly altering the context of the epidemic both for those infected and affected. This has important implications for parents and other family members of persons living with HIV/AIDS and the contributions they can make. This report examines how the situation of parents and to some extent other family members of HIV infected adults has changed in Thailand now that ART has become widely available. Thailand provides a particularly appropriate setting for such a study given the extensive progress made in the country towards universal access to ART. The results clearly show that the impact of the epidemic for affected family members has changed and that they can and do have an important role to in contributing to ART treatment adherence, an essential requirement for such treatment programs to be successful. By pointing out the absence of explicit consideration of older parents and close family members in the ART support system, the study provides important evidence on this untapped potential for policy-making not just in Thailand but in other developing countries facing the epidemic.
Country of focus: Thailand.