Online Program

Northern Thailand's ethnic minority HIV awareness: Challenges & realities high for HIV-risk communities with limited access to services

Sunday, November 3, 2013

G. Pamela Renée Crawford, MPhil, SM, MS, PhD, International Health Department, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Robert S. Lawrence, MD, Center for a Livable Future Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Nancy K. Roderer, MLS, Division of Health Science Informatics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
David D. Celentano, ScD, MHS, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Objective: The aim was to determine unique HIV information gaps of ethnic minorities experiencing limited-to-no health care access in Northern Thailand. Background: Qualitative data from Thailand's Project Accept were used to determine health information needs of Northern Thailand's ethnic minorities. These communities experience high HIV prevalence, often participate in high-risk behaviors (sex & drug trades) due to limited economic opportunities, and usually experience no access to healthcare services. Methods: Qualitative research methods (open and focused coding, theme development, memoing and integrative-memoing, conceptual framework construction) were applied to semi-structured in-depth interview transcripts. Sample (n=36) included: Chinese, Pakistani, Thai-Yai, Black & Red Lahu, Lisu, Hmong, Akha, Karen, Zam and Kon-Muang. Results: HIV information gaps were widespread among ethnic minorities and included: lack of accurate HIV transmission routes awareness, beliefs HIV transmits via touch, breath, food, being near/sharing food or items with persons living with HIV (PLHIV) (resulting in stigma toward PLHIV). Lack of condom-use awareness was common. HIV treatment information gaps were also common and perceptions included: forest herbs, chicken bile, bitter gourd and an injection/tablet to prevent or cure HIV. Others believed no HIV treatment yet exists (and would be unavailable to ethnic minorities if needed). Conclusion: Northern Thailand's ethnic minorities experience high HIV prevalence due to lack of HIV awareness, high HIV-risk behaviors and limited access to care. Most cannot be reached via traditional health education messages due to language/literacy barriers. Clear, culturally and linguistically appropriate health education messages should be targeted to these high-risk groups to improve HIV understanding.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe current state of knowledge and awareness about HIV, HIV transmission and HIV treatment options among ethnic minorities and immigrants in Northern Thailand Explain health education and service barriers unique to ethnic minorities and immigrants in Northern Thailand Identify specific unmet health information needs unique to ethnic minorities and immigrants in Northern Thailand Discuss health education challenges and barriers facing health programmers and health care providers in reducing preventable HIV transmission among ethnic minorities and immigrants in Northern Thailand Name innovative health education strategies to mitigate health awareness and perceptions of ethnic minorities and immigrants in Northern Thailand

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of this research project on HIV health information and health behaviors in Northern Thailand for my PhD dissertation research. Among my scientific interests has been the health information gaps associated with continued high risk HIV behaviors and obstructing the access to HIV related care.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.