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Forced Into Birth Control

Forced Into Birth Control

Even 25 years after the HIV epidemic reached Thailand, HIV-positive residents are subject today to stigma, advocates say. A study of 233 people with HIV found that

>20% of female respondents seeking care were denied antiretrovirals unless they accepted birth control;
>nine women were forced to end their pregnancies; and
>59% of female respondents were told not to have a baby after becoming infected.

"Some health care workers did not provide any information about pregnancy to women living with HIV. They do not want us to have a baby," an HIV-positive woman told researchers.

Social disapproval extended into the community. Among the respondents:

>47% said they had been physically attacked and verbally threatened;
>32% said they had lost their jobs; and
>26% said they were refused employment.

All of the respondents were between ages 30 and 49, and most had been HIV-positive for 10 to 14 years. The findings were presented at a national conference on HIV-related stigma by Ubon Ratchathani University researcher Tawatch Maneephong.

About a quarter of the respondents complained that the privacy of their health information was treated casually by hospital staff, with their HIV status clearly identifiable on publicly available material. This practice came under criticism by former senator and health activist Jon Ungpakorn, who urged public officials to show respect to people with HIV.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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