Thailand: In Bangkok, Home-Based Care Group Provides Hope (June 2009)

When Jack* was first referred to a home-based care group supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Bangkok, Thailand, he had almost given up on life. HIV-positive as a result of former drug use, and troubled with tuberculosis and an opportunistic infection, Jack was temporarily disabled and quickly losing the will to live.

"You never knew what I have to face," Jack recalled. "You never understand how I feel. Discrimination is all around."

But outreach workers refused to allow Jack to give up. HIV-positive themselves, they understood his fear of stigma and discrimination; however, unlike Jack, they also understood that HIV/AIDS need not be a death sentence. The home-based care group worked tirelessly to convince him to seek and receive appropriate care and treatment.

As a result of the group's perseverance, Jack agreed to start antiretroviral treatment (ART).

"The main task of home-based care is to provide comfort, understanding, and knowledge—not only to the patient, but also to their family members, because of the discrimination they all may face," said the head of the PEPFAR-supported home-based care group.

Half a year later, Jack's health and lifestyle have improved. Jack continues to receive ART and visits from the home-based care providers.

He also receives income generation support from the Thailand Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

Today, Jack is a volunteer for the group and has begun disclosing his status to others. And while his income is small, Jack regularly donates money to orphans and vulnerable children.

"They are my role model," Jack said of the home-based care group. "They are providing great help to HIV-positive people."

*Name has been changed. U.S. Government interagency website managed by the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
and the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department.
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