Conference Proceeding

Challenging for health service system to increase VCT uptake among KAPs in Thailand

Dr. Bang-on Thepthien,
Mahidol University, Thailand

Key affected population (KAPs) is main target of Thai National AIDS Plan in the budget year of 2012-2016. Increasing VCT uptake among this group will lead to early diagnosis and treatment. In order to achieve the VCT coverage.

Dr. Bang-on Thepthien is currently working as Instructor, in ASEAN institute for health Development, Mahidol University. She was a Visiting Professor at University of North Texas, USA during October 1,2015 –January 30, 2016. She has done diploma on Health Future Health Leader, Tokai University, Japan. Also she has done research on Sexualities related to AIDS policy and programs: A discourse analysis, Sexual culture and family life of homosexual and Meta – Analysis of Social and Behavioral Science Research on Sexual Behavior During 1994 – 2003.

Background: Key affected population (KAPs) is main target of Thai National AIDS Plan in the budget year of 2012-2016. Increasing VCT uptake among this group will lead to early diagnosis and treatment. In order to achieve the VCT coverage. We need to understand how magnitude of their experiences and what the reason for HIV testing among them.
Method: A population-based survey was done among MSM using time location sampling technique in 7 of 31 target provinces of Thai National AIDS plan .To approach and access the target groups, we requested NGOs and MSM peer leaders to get permission and refer them to us. MSM were interviewed by well-trained research team using structural questionnaires between February and June 2013 (50 cases/province). The key variables comprised of demographic data, risk behavior perception, knowledge and attitude to HIV testing, HIV testing and the reasons for testing or not.
Results: A total of 317 MSM were interviewed. Mainly were 24 years old or younger. Among these, 61.8% and 41.6% were experienced for HIV testing in the previous and past 12 months respectively. For those who ever test for HIV, most of them used governmental VCT service at nearby home and returned to get their results. In addition, 62.2% of them decided to test again in the next year. The rest of them will not test (15.3%) and still be not sure (23.5%). The top 3 reasons for HIV testing in the past were 1) want to know their HIV status 2) health check-up 3) encourage by providers at VCT outreach services. Otherwise, the reason of no HIV testing were their perceptions of having no risk, fear of positive test result and no information of available VCT services. For those who did not experience for HIV test in the past, 69.2% still no intention to test in the next year because of their self- assessment of no risk for HIV infection and always using condom. In term of knowledge and attitude, only half of MSM knew about the benefit of VCT packages and two-fifth would use the home test kit if it was available at drug stores.
Conclusions: The key finding revealed that MSM who do not want to test for HIV because of having no risk behaviors. Thus, National policy on promoting regularly VCT among KAPs should be reconsidered whether focusing on risk groups or risk behaviors to getting to zero new infection.

Published: 05 May 2017