Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket shelter in fight against HIV stigma

Published

 on 

Daoroong ‘Joojee’ Rodsamnam, 49, from Bangkok, has been project manager for the Life Home Project Foundation, a shelter for HIV-positive mothers and their children, for seven years. Here, she talks about HIV in Phuket, the goals and challenges of the Foundation and what motivated her to work there.

PHUKET: Phuket is always in the top-five provinces in Thailand in terms of numbers of people with HIV and AIDS. People come and go on the island, which makes it hard to control the disease.

The main goals of our foundation are to provide help to HIV-affected mothers and their children, destigmatize HIV through educational outreach programs, and teach people about safe sex.

The biggest challenge we face is finding funding to support the women and children who live in our house, the children in the 170 families we serve across the island, and our educational outreach programs.

Our house can accommodate 40 people. Right now we have 22 children and 10 women staying here. The children are either HIV-affected or orphans of people with AIDS who passed away.

Children can live in the house until age 18. Normally, women can live here for a maximum of six months, but in some cases, if they have nowhere to go or can’t live by themselves, they stay longer.

Although we provide housing, the best situation is for HIV-affected people to live with their families in their own neighborhoods or villages, and have as normal a life as possible.

Unfortunately, Thai society still doesn’t accept HIV-positive people. This is partly because years ago, in a campaign to stop HIV, the government portrayed it as disgusting and scary. The campaign was successful, but it left people afraid of HIV.

Some families reject their relatives who are HIV-positive, so we try to teach them that people with HIV can live in the same house with other people.

Actually, it’s not easy to get HIV in a daily-life setting. As you may know, the virus is transmitted by the transfer of blood, semen, pre-ejaculate, vaginal fluid or breast milk.

The children who stay with us go to regular schools on the island, but because of the stigma, they cannot tell anyone at school they have HIV.

Our goal is for everyone to understand that HIV-positive people can live normally in society with other people.

Another thing I am worried about in Phuket is teenagers getting HIV at younger ages. Some are as young as 12 years old. They get it from having unprotected sex.

I want everyone to understand that having safe sex is very important. Using condoms is the only way to protect yourself from getting HIV.

I never planned to do this job. I came to Phuket intending to start my own business, but I have yet to do that.

I met the foundation founders, Jose Luis Guy Cano and Helen Fellon-Wood, and they asked me to work with them overseeing the construction of the foundation house. I was going to work with them for three months, but I’m still here seven years later.

It was my children that made me stay – they are teenagers, and I felt that if I didn’t do something good for society, that somehow bad luck would come to them. So I decided to work with the foundation to prevent HIV and to support anyone who had it.

We are fortunate to get free HIV drugs from the government through Vachira Phuket Hospital, but we are grateful for donations of money, clothes or toiletries directly to our house. Information about us, including our bank account number, is available on our website: Lifehomeproject.org.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics5 hours ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Transport7 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Politics9 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya9 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism10 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism10 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution12 hours ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather12 hours ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism13 hours ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Video13 hours ago

All you need to know about Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Protests14 hours ago

Anti-Prayut rallies expected across Bangkok

What you get for $X1 day ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending