UNDP and Royal Thai Police work to fight HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination

Aug 13, 2012

UNDP Thailand/Mark S. Cogan : The Royal Thai Police, UNDP, the Ministry of Justice, UNAIDS, and the Foundation for AIDS Rights met on 8 August to discuss a draft anti-stigma and discrimination curriculum for junior police cadets.

BANGKOK - UNDP and the Royal Thai Police are working on a plan to educate junior police cadets to understand HIV-related stigma and discrimination.  At a meeting with the Royal Thai Police, The Foundation for AIDS Rights, and UNAIDS, and the Ministry of Justice, a draft curriculum was presented that could be tested as early as this September.

Stigma and discrimination remain a concern in Thailand and they present barriers to access to prevention and treatments, among key at-risk populations.

The curriculum would start as a “training of trainers” held in Bangkok, with a pilot exercise designed to further refine the curriculum.

“There’s an opportunity to present this curriculum at the International Conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific [ICAAP] in 2014, as well as at the upcoming conference on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok next year,” said Ms. Supatra Nacapiew, Director of the Foundation for AIDS Rights.

“This is an opportunity to both reduce HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination and to create a programme that can be a model for other countries to follow.“

A 2009 Stigma and Discrimination Index study showed high levels of self-stigma among people living with HIV (PLHIV). Stigma and discrimination was reported in the workplace, health settings, and school.

The stigma and discrimination curriculum will be used to distribute knowledge to junior police cadets who have passed police examination and who will be appointed as non-commissioned police officers around the country.

This year, there are 9,500 junior police cadets and with the current number of new officers, training will continue in the future. The draft curriculum currently contains over 22 hours of lessons, spread out over the course of five days.

The United Nations joint programme on stigma and discrimination is supported by UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, and UNFPA works in seven provinces with significant presence in Bangkok. The Foundation for AIDS Rights (FAR) works as the main implementing partner, in collaboration with the Thai Network of People Living with HIV (TNP+).

Thailand’s National AIDS Strategy for 2012-2016 works on three goals—zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination.