Building the capacity of young leaders in Asia’s HIV community.
Thailand’s fight against HIV has been a global success story. In 1990 there were 150,000 new infections[i], in 2014 there were fewer than 8,000[ii]. Its success has largely been down to a highly targeted approach, identifying and aiming to address the root causes of HIV, making testing widely available and tackling mother-to-child transmission as a priority. The HIV prevalence rate is now 1.1% and new infections are declining (although the rate of decline has somewhat slowed down in the past 4-5 years).iv
Those who were born during the height of the HIV epidemic in Thailand are now teenagers up to their early twenties. Many will have been affected by HIV – either directly or via family or friends – yet studies suggest that under 25s are less knowledgeable about HIV, testing and treatment than over 25s.[iii]There are also unanswered questions around how healthcare providers can best support young people with HIV to transition from adolescent to adult care.
TREAT Asia (Therapeutics Research, Education and AIDS Training in Asia) is developing a leadership programme to build the capacity of young leaders in Asia’s HIV community to roll out a new adherence and retention support programme in Thailand. The project will also gather data on clinical outcomes and retention in care of adolescents currently living with HIV, including those who have transitioned to adult HIV care in Asia. This data will further understanding of adolescent clinical care services and programmatic resources in Asia and provide a basis to model the future of the adolescent epidemic.
[i] UNAIDS, Epidemiological fact sheet on HIV and AIDS in Thailand. Available at: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/epidocuments/THA.pdf Last accessed November 2015
[ii] Thailand Ending AIDS, Thailand AIDS response progress report. Available here http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/country/documents/THA_narrative_report_2015.pdf Last accessed: November 2015
[iii] AVERT. HIV and AIDS in Thailand. Available at: http://www.avert.org/node/418/pdf. Last assessed November2015