Bangkok Post Profiles Efforts in Thailand to Reduce Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Children
The Bangkok Post yesterday profiled several efforts to reduce discrimination against HIV-positive children in Thailand. A review by the Thai AIDSNet Foundation found that between 1998 and 2001 there were frequent reports of HIV-positive children being refused admission to schools, and many parents have told schools that they do not want their children studying with HIV-positive children. Members of several Thai nongovernmental organizations, including the People Living With AIDS Network, AIDSNet and the Center for AIDS Rights, traveled to an elementary school in Khon Kaen's Chonnabot district to teach parents and teachers about HIV and transmission of the virus. Also attending the meeting were representatives from the AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases section of the Khon Kaen Provincial Health Office, a representative from Chonnabot Hospital and the deputy director of the Provincial Primary Education Office in Khon Kaen. The school, in turn, worked with UNICEF Thailand to organize a workshop to teach local residents about HIV/AIDS. Prior to the workshop, 34% of participants said they approved of HIV-positive children studying in the local school system, but this proportion rose to 52% after the workshop. Supatra Nakapiew, director of the Center for AIDS Rights, said that the workshop proves that the way in which people learn about HIV/AIDS determines how they will treat HIV-positive people and that HIV/AIDS is a community problem, not a school or individual issue. Nakapiew said that although all Thai children are guaranteed the right to an education, it is necessary for NGOs and communities to work together to ensure that HIV-positive children are also being allowed the opportunity to study. UNICEF Thailand also called for further follow-up sessions to combat discrimination against HIV-positive children (Malikaew, Bangkok Post, 9/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.