Press Release

Thailand partners recognize communities’ contribution to HIV response success

24 November 2023

Ahead of World AIDS Day, stakeholders note Thai progress toward ending AIDS as a public health threat and call for full investment in community leadership.

BANGKOK, (24 November 2023) – Today leaders working on HIV issues across Thailand came together to celebrate the meaningful contribution of communities to Thailand’s strong HIV response. The event was held ahead of World AIDS Day which will be commemorated on December 1 with the theme “Let Communities Lead”. From the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok, the group also called for full investment, policy and legal support in community leadership to accelerate progress and ensure no one is left behind.

Thailand is on track to meet the 95-95-95 Global AIDS Strategy testing and treatment targets by 2025. By the end of 2022 an estimated 90% of people living with HIV were aware of their status. Ninety percent (90%) of diagnosed people were on treatment and an impressive 97% of those on treatment achieved a suppressed viral load. Viral suppression (dramatically reducing the level of the virus in the blood) makes people living with HIV healthier and sharply reduces the chance that they pass on the virus. People with an undetectable viral load have zero chance of infecting others.

Thailand is fully committed to ending AIDS as a public health threat as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal agenda. The country is internationally recognized for its 'peer-to-peer' approach, initiated in 1996. This is a framework that allows people living with HIV (PLHIV) to support each other. This initiative has grown into a network encompassing district, provincial, and national levels, evolving into what is now known as the 'Comprehensive Care Center' (CCC). Currently, there are approximately 219 such CCC networks nationwide.

Surang Janyam, Chairperson of the Thai Non-Governmental Organization Coalition on AIDS (TNCA) and Director of the Service Workers in Group Foundation (SWING), emphasized the community's transformation from service recipients to co-providers, known as Community Health Workers, under Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This transition to Community-led Health Services marks a significant advancement in promoting community sustainability in the AIDS response.

Dr. Patchara Benjarattanaporn, Director of UNAIDS Thailand, underscored the critical role of community involvement in planning, service provision and advocacy.

“Communities’ contributions are crucial due to their deep understanding of the needs and barriers faced by key and vulnerable groups such as men who have sex with men, migrants, people who use drugs, service workers, transgender people and youth,” Dr. Patchara said.

Dr. Yupadee Sirisinsuk, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), stressed that Community-led Health Services are key to Thailand's strategy to end AIDS. In 2023, the NHSO allocates 575.7 million THB for HIV prevention with 182.25 million THB of this funding specifically earmarked to support community organizations and NGOs. This approach has successfully reached numerous individuals with HIV prevention and testing services, facilitating faster and more effective treatment access. Current 39 community organizations have registered and become service units with the NHSO.

Evidence from the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control project (EpiC), supported by Family Health International (FHI) and the U.S. government's USAID/PEPFAR program, shows that Key Population-led Health Services achieve far earlier detection of HIV cases when compared to the national average. (The national average CD4 count at initial diagnosis stands at 172 cells/mm³, while for people reached by key population-led health services it is 429 cells/mm³).

To ensure quality, the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), Ratchasuda College, Mahidol University, and the Institute for HIV Research and Innovation have developed training curriculums for Community Health Workers. While MOPH established organizational accreditation. Dr. Niti Hetanurak, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health said that to date, 497 from MOPH and 88 from Ratchasuda College, in total of 585 Community Health Workers have been trained from these initiatives.

Professor Dr. Praphan Phanuphak, Senior Advisor on Research and Policy at the HIV Research and Innovation Institute and the first doctor to diagnose an AIDS patient in Thailand, remains optimistic about Thailand's ability to end AIDS. He believes this goal is achievable if policymakers fully invest in community-led responses and all sectors work together to support and revise policies and regulations that currently impede the work of community organizations.

Important inputs:

Satayu Sittikan, Director of the CareMat Foundation in Chiang Mai Province, noted that through Community Led Monitoring and the Stigma Index Survey, they have gathered data that highlights issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community, such as barriers to HIV testing and immediate access to treatment, as well as experiences of stigma and discrimination. These data have led to significant improvements in services at several hospitals in Chiang Mai Province.

Pongthorn Chanlearn, Chairperson of the National Task Force on the HIV Stigma Index Survey in Thailand, spoke about the community network's role in conducting this survey from 2022-2023. Covering 25 provinces, the survey provides essential data on stigma and discrimination related to HIV – a significant concern in Thailand.

Nipakorn Nanta, Chairperson of the Foundation of Women Living with HIV in Thailand, led this survey and expressed pride in Thailand being one of the few countries where women living with HIV spearheaded such efforts. The Stigma Index data amplify previously unheard voices, revealing the impact of stigma and discrimination on pregnant women living with HIV, the complexities related to drug use and sexual and reproductive health.

Suhai Nong SamaHough, Manager of the Care Team Center in Songkhla, advocated for government support in providing comprehensive services and legal support for effective harm reduction for people who use drugs.

Dr. Sunthon Sunthornchart, Director of the Health Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), highlighted Bangkok's achievements since joining the Fast Track Cities initiative in 2014. Through robust partnerships with communities and other stakeholders, the city has earned national and international acclaim for its efficient HIV testing, same-day antiretroviral treatment, and the rapid scaling-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. (PrEP is treatment taken by an HIV negative person to avoid contracting the virus, if exposed.) These efforts have resulted in a decline of new HIV infections, especially among men who have sex with men.


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UNAIDS Thailand | Patchara Benjarattanaporn |


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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