The number of persons who are HIV positive, how they are viewed by society; medical treatment they receive from the government and/or other organizations [THA33950.E]

The Research Directorate was unable to find any legislation dealing with HIV-positive or AIDS.

In 1997 UNAIDS estimated that approximately 780,000 Thais were HIV-positive, almost as many as all the HIV/AIDS cases in North America at that time (United States Fund for UNICEF Aug. 1999). A joint study released by the European Union in late October 1998 estimated that over 270,000 persons had AIDS in Thailand, whereas the official estimate at that time was 90,637 (Baltimore Sun 21 Oct. 1998). By mid-1998 those infected with HIV were estimated to number 1 million out of a population of 61 million (IPS Wire 18 June 1998; The Lancet 27 Nov. 1999), although government officials estimated that only between 200,000 and 400,000 were HIV carriers (Background Notes: Thailand Aug. 1999). Northern Thailand is reportedly the hardest hit by HIV ("HIV/AIDS Organizations in Thailand" n.d.), and may have an infection rate as high as 15 per cent (Background Notes: Thailand Aug. 1999).

Despite these devastating figures, an HIV/AIDS project officer in UNICEF's regional office in Bangkok stated that Thailand's rate of new HIV infections is decreasing due, to a large extent, to the "government's open and dynamic response to the pandemic," including the spending of millions of dollars per year on public service announcements and other media strategies related to preventing the spread of the disease (United States Fund for UNICEF Aug. 1999). The "100 per cent condom campaign" has also successfully reduced HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among new army recruits in the North (FEER 30 May 1998).

However, despite successful campaign strategies, the HIV/AIDS project officer for UNICEF stated that "families living with the virus continue to face discrimination, financial difficulties, and psychological distress" (United States Fund for UNICEF Aug. 1999). Health experts in Thailand in mid-June 1998 further reported that the one million HIV-positive persons were most affected by the country's economic crisis: in addition to

fighting personal and social problems, [they] are also feeling additional pressure from being denied subsidized medical care and financial support as a result of the trimming of heath care budgets; health workers are concerned that the lack of government subsidies for expensive drugs like AZT may put the lives of HIV-positive citizens in danger (IPS Wire 18 June 1998).

The coordinator of a UNICEF-sponsored NGO assisting families affected by HIV/AIDS in the northern province of Chiang Mai added that "children of HIV families are marked as AIDS kids no matter whether thy are affected or not. They are like white cloth soiled with dust. They were born to suffer for sins they did not commit" (United States Fund for UNICEF Aug. 1999).

Rejoice Urban Development Project (RUDP), a "multi-facet grassroots project" based in the Chiang Mai province that was fully operational in mid-1998, provides medical and social support to the destitute there, especially those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS (RUDP 24 Feb. 2000a). According to RUDP,

[AIDS-affected or -infected]orphans are just one aspect of a complex chain of effects caused by AIDS in Thailand. The overrun national medical system is unable to respond to the medical needs of AIDS-affect populations. In addition, the social stigma strongly discourages HIV-positive individuals from seeking the social support they need. ... Virtually no pharmaceuticals are available in Thailand to combat AIDS; access to the Western drug cocktails is never discussed (24 Feb. 2000b).

In 1998 the government stopped subsidizing virtually all AIDS drugs ("HIV/AIDS Organizations in Thailand" n.d.).

A list of HIV/AIDS Organizations in Thailand including the address, phone number and, in most cases, a description of the services each organization provides can be found on the Internet at aidsthai.html. Names of the organizations and services provided, if available, are given below:


(1) Anonymous Clinic - Thai Red Cross (Bangkok)
(2) Bodang Drop-in Center (Bangkok)This Wednesday Friends Club-sponsored center offers services for people with HIV/AIDS that include a hostel, weight room, support groups, counseling, vitamin shop, karaoke. Most services are free. Hostel is Baht 30- per night.
(3) Counseling Centre & HIV/AIDS Clinic Hotline (Bangkok)
(4) Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontiers (Bangkok)"We provide healthcare for people with AIDS. If you or your friend has HIV and is ill, please contact us. Our service is free, confidential, and friendly."


Baan Peuan Cheewit [House of Friends of Life] (Muang, Chiang Mai)Phra Phongthep Dhammagaruko, a Thai Buddhist monk, established this temple hospice for people with AIDS. It also assists people with AIDS who are abandoned by their families and provides training to families in proper care of people with AIDS.


(1) Wednesday Friends Club (Bangkok)Support and social organization for people living with HIV/AIDS.
(2) Life Giving Life Group (Sankampaeng District, Chiang Mai)People with HIV/AIDS are organizing themselves to help one another but they receive little help from society. The Life Giving Life Group is an organization of People with HIV/AIDS. This group cares for more than 200 patients in Chiang Mai and Lamphun. The project is however short of funds and needs help.
(3) People with HIV/AIDS Coordinating Center (Khun Prasert Dechaboon)
(4) Life and Hope Club (Bangkok)Khun Ittirak Smithsuwan is an HIV-positive person who bravely went public. Khun Ittirak established the Life and Hope Club to dispel myths and fight discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS.
(5) Welcome House (Bangkok)People with HIV and AIDS arrive at Welcome House rejected and scared. At this shelter, they find a home that is welcoming and free of discrimination.


(1) New Life Friends Center (Tambon Suthep, Chiang Mai)In 1998 the government stopped subsidizing virtually all AIDS drugs. This group of people with HIV/AIDS in Chiang Mai organized an AIDS medicine bank to help each other get access to the ex-pensive lifesaving drugs.


(1) Thai Youth AIDS Prevention Project - Chiang MaiNorthern Thailand is hardest by HIV. This nongovernment agency, set up in 1995, targets young people for its HIV-prevention programs.
(2) Duang Prateep Foundation (Bangkok)This foundation has numerous development and assistance programs in Bangkok slums, and your support and donations will be used well. Their AIDS Project work combines AIDS education with caring for people who are suffering from AIDS related illnesses. AIDS education is targeted at all sectors of Bangkok slum society and at sex workers living and working around Bangkok slum communities.
(3) Community AIDS Care Project (Amphoe San Sai, Chiang Mai)This NGO coordinates rural programs to assist people with HIV/AIDS in Thailand's Northern region, which has been the most affected by HIV/AIDS.
(4) Health Hotline FundPhuket Island's health chief, Dr. Boonriang Chuchaisaengra, set up a fund to battle HIV/AIDS with education and the bigotry that comes from misinformation; to tackle wider social problems, such as poverty and prostitution; and organizes people for mutual support.
(5) The Sangha Metta Project (Muang District, Chiang Mai)Buddhist monks are both spiritual and community leaders in Thailand. They can play a significant role in supporting people with HIV/AIDS. The Sangha Metta Project encourages monks to offer practical and spiritual help to people with HIV/AIDS and to assist their communities to be more understanding and caring.
(6) Pearl S. Buck International-Thailand (Bangkok)Under the auspices of the Pearl S. Buck International association, a group of people with HIV and AIDS work to support others with the virus and spreading the important safe-sex message.


(1) Thai Red Cross Save A Child's Life for AIDS Project (Bangkok)The Thai Red Cross Society helps provide HIV-positive pregnant women a free AZT, which will dramatically reduce the newborn's chances of getting HIV from their mothers. Baht 50 (US$1.35) means one day's dose of AZT for one woman.
(2) Ban Huay Sai Ruam Jai (San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai)AIDS Widows struggle to make ends meet and are oppressed by social discrimination. Ban Huay Sai Ruam Jai (The Huay Sai Togetherness House) helps them.


Estimates are that by the year 2000 Thailand will have over 120,000 AIDS orphans.
(1) The Sem Pring-puangkeo Foundation in Bangkok and Chiang Mai distributes donated funds that sponsor the education of orphans whose parents or guardian died of HIV.Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation's Children Fund (Bangkok)Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation's Children Fund (Sarapee district, Chiang Mai)Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation (Chiang Mai)
(2) AIDS Babies Center (Tambon Prasing Muang, Chiang Mai)HIV-infected children are likely to die young, but a group of caregivers in Chiang Mai help ensure these babies' short lives are filled with love.
(3) The Agape Home (Muang district, Chiang Mai)THE AGAPE HOME in Chiang Mai provides love and care to many HIV-positive babies. Donations and volunteers are needed.

For information on perceptions and treatment of people with HIV/AIDS in the south, please consult the June 1998 AIDS Care article by P. Songwathana and L. Manderson entitled "Perceptions of HIV/AIDS and Caring For People With Terminal AIDS in Southern Thailand" available on the Internet at

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Background Notes: Thailand. August 1999. US Department of State. [Accessed 2 Mar. 2000]

Baltimore Sun. 21 October 1998. David Brunnstrom. "EU Reports AIDS Toll in Thailand is 9 Times Official Death Figure." [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) [Hong Kong]. 30 May 1998. "Thai Army Wining AIDS Battle." [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

"HIV/AIDS Organizations in Thailand." n.d. [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

IPS Wire. 18 June 1998. "Crisis Inflicts More Pain." [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

The Lancet [London]. 27 November 1999. Vol. 354, No. 9193-95. David Wilson et al. "Global Trade and Access to medicines: AIDS Treatments in Thailand." [29 Feb. 2000]

Rejoice Urban Development Project (RUDP). 24 Feb. 2000a. "Main" [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

_____. 24 Feb. 2000b. "Projects" [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

United States Fund for UNICEF [NY]. August 1999. "Ending a Conspiracy of Silence: A White Cloth Soiled With Dust." [Accessed 29 Feb. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Background Notes: Thailand. October 1998. US Department of State.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 1999. 25 February 2000.

Thailand. 1991. Rehabiliation of Disabled Persons Act and Ministerial Regulations A.D. 1991 (B.E. 2534) And Ministerial Regulations A.D. 1994 (B.E. 2537) No. 1 [A.D. 1994 (B.E. 2537) on the Employment of Disabled Persons and the Contribution to the Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons], 2 [1994 (B.E. 2537) on Designation of Type and Criteria of Disabled Persons] and 3 [A.D. 1994 (B.E. 2537) on Provision of Medical Rehabilitation Service and Expenses for Nursing Care and Equipment]
UNAIDS, WHO. June 1998.

Thailand: Epidemiological Fact Sheet on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

UNAIDS. Global HIV/AIDS & STD Surveillance.

Internet sites, including:


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