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Thailand and U.S. Launch Joint Research Project with HIV Positive Men



Chiang Rai Times

New HIV testing campaign urges Thai men to take advantage of rapid testing

BANGKOK – Thailand’s Public Health Ministry and U.S. AIDS agencies in Thailand have launched a joint research project with HIV – positive men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) after efforts to reduce the number of new infected patients were not so successful.The cooperation began in 2014 involving such agencies as USAID and U.S. CDC with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The research will be conducted in seven Thai provinces in risk of AIDS transmission among the two target groups.

The research project is aimed at reducing the spreading of the disease among MSM and TG members by encouraging them to attend HIV testing and receive anti-retroviral therapy immediately in line with the Thai government’s policy.

As a result of the cooperation, Thailand is the first country in Asia which implements the policy of giving free anti-retroviral therapy to HIV-positive patients immediately after positive result. The therapy can be reachable at state medical centers in all communities.

The US charge d’affairs in Bangkok, Mr. Patrick Murphy said that the U.S. government was pleased to work with the Thai Public Health Ministry in this regard as the project benefits the society as a whole.

“HIV test and anti-retroviral therapy can save patient’s life and prevent new infection. We can reduce HIV transmission if more people attend the test and instantly receive the therapy,” said Mr. Patrick Murphy.

“The sooner they have HIV test, the earlier they can be healed and live normal life,” he continued, stressing that AIDS is like other chronic diseases which patients can have healthy life by taking medicine daily.

HIV is Still the #1 Health Concern for Gay Men

A lot of gay men might talk like they’re not worried about HIV, but it still ranks as our number one health concern, according to a new study out of Hunter College.

“The fear is that gay men are tired of hearing about how to prevent HIV, and because of new treatment options, HIV isn’t seen as a big deal anymore,” says Dr. Christian Grov, a researcher at Hunter’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST).

With a goal to see if men who sleep with men were experiencing such HIV-prevention fatigue, CHEST interviewed more than 650 gay and bisexual men at clubs, gay bars and bathhouses about their health concerns. Interviewees were asked to rank HIV transmission as compared to  smoking, body-image issues, mental health and drug/alcohol use.

HIV/STDs was ranked as the top concern, with mental health and substance abuse tying for second place. “These findings are promising for HIV prevention providers because they suggest many gay and bisexual men still recognize HIV as a top issue for the gay community,” says Grov.

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