Access to HIV/AIDS testing: gender based differences in Thailand

Julie Pannetier, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Sophie Le Coeur, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Intira Collins, Program for HIV Prevention and Treatment (PHPT)
Eva Lelièvre, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

We evaluate, with a gender perspective, the uptake of the voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) strategy in Thailand. Data were derived from life-event surveys among patients receiving ART (n=513) and among “controls” from the general population matched on sex, age and place of residence (n=500). In patients, the majority of men underwent HIV-testing for health reasons while the majority of women were tested following spouse/child death or during pregnancy. Seventy percent of the controls had been tested, mostly for non-medical reasons (job, loan, insurance) for men, and during pregnancy for women. While HIV testing appears quite accessible in the general population, why does a large proportion of HIV-infected patients only get tested when they become ill? HIV-infected patients and controls exposed to HIV but not tested have in common a lower socioeconomic status than those tested negative. Gender and socioeconomic differences in VCT uptake generate inequalities in access to care.

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Presented in Session 27: HIV, anti-retroviral therapies and counselling: access, sustainability and behavioural issues