PSI/Thailand has implemented the program with support from PEPFARand USAID’s Regional Development Mission Asia.
Sisters, a Transgender (TG)-focused, community-based organization in Pattaya, Thailand works with TGs to provide HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.
Since 2004, PSI/Thailand has implemented the program with support from PEPFARand USAID’s Regional Development Mission Asia. Programming aid at the TG community is rather weak. According to UNDP, “In most cases, HIV programming merges transgender people into programming for MSM with apparently little insight into the particular needs of transgender people (UNDP 2011, 27).”
The Sisters program was developed to meet the need of the TG community in Thailand and provide them with HIV programming that is tailored to the needs of the community. We believe that the success of the program is in part due to the provision of safe spaces for members of the TG community.
Epidemiological surveys of TG populations in Thailand report extremely high HIV prevalence, ranging from between 8 to 68 percent in different locations, and incidence of between 3.4 to 7.8 percent per 100 person-years (Guadamuz et al. 2011). Between March and October 2005, the Thai Ministry of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention undertook a study of 474 TG people in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, finding an overall HIV prevalence of approximately 14 percent (Guadamuz et al. 2011). In October 2005, PSI conducted an assessment that found that of 400 TG people (ages 15 to 35) in Pattaya, only 39 percent of participants reported consistent condom use with regular partners, while 50 percent reported consistent condom use with casual partners (PSI 2005).
To meet this need, Sisters provides the following services:
- A social haven
- HIV testing and counseling (HTC) and STI screening and treatment (delivered by a TG nurse from the local hospital)
- One-on-one counseling
- Capacity building
- Drop-in center activities (make-up classes, cooking classes, sports, etc.)
- Community activities to build social acceptance
- One-to-one outreach: counselors reach out to TG people in the community with HIV prevention and behavior change messages and provide referrals for needed services
- Group outreach: group HIV prevention activities where TG persons live and work
- Home-based care and support.