Online Program

HIV awareness and information gaps among thai & ethnic minorities in northern Thailand

Monday, November 4, 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: To better understand HIV awareness among Thai and ethnic communities in Northern Thailand. Background: Thailand's Project Accept data were analyzed to determine the level of HIV knowledge, awareness and understanding. Methods: Qualitative methods (open and focused coding, theme development, memoing and integrative-memoing, conceptual framework construction) were applied to semi-structured in-depth interviews using Atlast.ti and Microsoft Office software. Study sample (n=117, aged 18-32 years) included Thai (n=81) and ethnic minorities (n=36) representing Chinese, Pakistani, Thai-Yai, Black & Red Lahu, Lisu, Hmong, Akha, Karen, Zam and Kon-Muang ethnicities. Results: HIV health information gaps were widespread among Thai and ethnic minority communities. Most participants, including former HIV education volunteers, were unaware of all accurate HIV transmission routes. Common perceptions included sex workers, soldiers, ethnic minorities, and GLBT persons as HIV sources. Perceived HIV transmission routes included eating with/being near/touching person living with HIV (PLHIV) or something they touched, breathe/saliva/coughing, tattooing, eating beef, mosquitoes, traveling outside the village (domestically or internationally), or having sexual relations with a person from the same tribe/blood type (perceived infection route by ethnic minorities). Many were aware of condoms to prevent HIV transmission but most were unaware how to use condoms and were embarrassed to take condoms when provided for free. Conclusion: Although HIV education efforts were widespread in the region, health information gaps persist among Northern Thai communities and could lead to further HIV transmission. Study results could be used to tailor future health education provision, clarifying the nature of HIV and accurate transmission routes.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe state HIV knowledge and awareness among youth in Northern Thailand communities List specific health information gaps that can directly lead to HIV-risk behaviors and possible HIV transmission Discuss challenges and obstacles facing health programmers and health care providers in reducing HIV health information gaps

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Health Information

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 access to health services, health information gaps associated with continued high risk HIV behaviors and barriers 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.