Online Program

Thai & ethnic minority HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) awareness in northern Thailand

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

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 antiretroviral therapy (ART) awareness among Northern Thailand's Thai and ethnic communities. Background: Thailand's Project Accept data were used to determine ART levels of 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: ART awareness levels varied greatly but ethnic minorities suffered from greater ART unawareness. Inaccurate but widespread ART definitions included: herbal tea/forest herbs, bitter gourd/bitter cucumber, chicken bile, vaginal suppository, injection, or tablets from traveling salesmen. Inaccurate ART efficacy perceptions included: pain reducer, worsens HIV progression, prevents all viral infections, ineffective on Asians, and prevents or cures HIV. Barriers to ART uptake included: stigma associated with taking ART, perception ART caused more side-effects than benefits, ART perceived only available to Thais or wealthy, and perceptions one must experience physical manifestations of AIDS before commencing ART. Conclusion: Although ART provision is available to most in Northern Thailand (ethnic minorities are not recognized as citizens and unable to access healthcare/treatment), misperceptions and lack of ART awareness will greatly impede timely/ever ART uptake. ART health education should be provided at the community level, recognizing different community educational needs. Education for ethnic minorities, unable to access governmentally-provided ART, should include information on non-governmental sources of ART.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe state of ART knowledge and awareness among youth in Northern Thailand communities List specific health information gaps that can directly lead to HIV-risk behaviors, possible HIV transmission and failure to access and uptake ART Discuss challenges and obstacles facing health programmers and health care providers in increasing uptake of ART in the presence of widespread 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 have been human rights issues, 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.

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