On World AIDS Day, at least 175 migrant workers gathered in an event organised by World Vision Foundation of Thailand, to highlight the call to ensure equity to end AIDS.

“Everyone, regardless of race, gender, nationality, should be able to have equal access to services to help end AIDS by 2030,” said WVFT’s national director Dr.Sarawut Rachasrimuang, highlighting the importance of migrant workers’ inclusion to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.

Activities included in the said event include awareness raising on AIDS prevention, distribution of prevention kits and X-Ray services for tuberculosis screening.

Since 2003, World Vision, with funding from Global Fund, has been working with migrant workers to prevent HIV transmission and provide support to people living with AIDS. To date, the organisation has reached more than 685,000 migrants through health education. At least 26,000 have had HIV testing while close to 300 were supported in accessing antiretroviral therapy.

While significant stride has been made, World Vision recognises that more work needs to be done until 2030.

“There are still a lot of migrants who have fear of stigma, which hinders them from getting tested or from seeking treatment. For some, access remains a problem — they do not avail the services because they do not want to miss work and lose their income for the day. We have mobile clinics to address this concern,” shared World Vision staff Onpailin Boonruanya.

“Partnership is also crucial in this initiative. Together with a network of migrant health volunteers, we are able to reach more migrant workers, including the undocumented ones who have fears of getting caught, hence opting to not get tested. This work not only prevents HIV transmission, but also helps remove the stigma attached to the infection. Working closely with the Department of Disease Control of the Ministry of Public Health to establish Drop-In Centres and health posts in 61 migrant communities also continues to play an important role in this,” added Project Manager Chintana Thamsuwan.

For the children

Dr. Rachasrimuang also emphasised the importance of realising the third SDG to children.

“Caregivers with HIV/AIDS could possibly have reduced capacity to provide for their children’s basic needs, including food and education. This could also trigger psychosocial distress to a child, especially when experiencing stigma.”

He added, “Our work towards ending AIDS is crucial for children’s well-being. World Vision calls on different stakeholders to continue working towards this goal, leaving no one behind.”

More details: http://www.worldvision.or.th

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About press releases, please contact Ms. Wiphawee Riwsuwan, World Vision Foundation of Thailand 08-1494-5498.