Increasing Access and Uptake of HTC among MSM in Thailand

Although Thailand has made significant improvement in mitigating its HIV epidemic, it has not effectively reached men who have sex with men (MSM), who account for a significant proportion of those affected by HIV.

AIDSTAR-One conducted a situational analysis in Thailand that focused on addressing issues affecting uptake of HIV testing and counseling (HTC) services for MSM.

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Executive Summary

From March-April 2009, AIDSTAR-One conducted a two-phased approach in Thailand that focused on HTC services for MSM. The work included: reviewing the evidence to identify promising practices in HIV programs for reaching MSM; conducting a situational analysis of HTC services currently available for MSM; facilitating a stakeholder meeting to prepare for and discuss issues around community-based, same-day HTC in Thailand.

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Introduction: HIV in Thailand

This introduction provides an overview of the HIV situation in Thailand. Although Thailand has made substantial progress in reducing the impact of the HIV epidemic on the general population, the success of its prevention programs has not extended to the population of men who have sex with men (MSM). A review of promising practices for counseling and testing for MSM is also provided.

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Findings

AIDSTAR-One conducted a situational analysis in Thailand to identify: a) promising practices related to HTC for MSM; b) strategies for community-based rapid HIV testing for MSM; and c) factors affecting MSM use of HTC services. The situational analysis showed that community-based HTC options for MSM are limited and that MSM want choices in where to receive HTC services. Also, to increase HTC uptake, changes in attitudes about HIV testing are needed. The report identifies promising practices in HTC and presents themes from interviews and observations.

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HTC Models

The situational analysis determined that various sectors in Thailand are interested in new ways to increase uptake of HTC among MSM at the community level. Thus, AIDSTAR-One proposed models for community-based, same-day, rapid HTC for MSM, including incorporating rapid testing HTC services among public and NGO sectors. Further, the report discusses key issues for implementation.

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Stakeholder Meeting

AIDSTAR-One facilitated a two-day stakeholder meeting to explore findings from the situational analysis; to develop models to implement HTC demonstration projects; and to reate strategies to address issues affecting HCT uptake by MSM. The report includes a summary of the meeting and its outcomes.

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Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

AIDSTAR-One proposed a monitoring and evaluation plan for the rollout of a U.S. Government (USG)-sponsored demonstration project on community-based HTC models for MSM. The implementation-focused components evaluation (IFCE) can be found in the report.

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