Trust and Communication
The work of Rejoice depends upon building the trust of people living with HIV. Making repeated visits to remote home and villages takes time and can be frustrating when confidentiality should be maintained, and the language of the patient is not Thai but the language of one of the many hill-tribes.
The Lahu are a close-knit, independent hill-tribe which continues to maintain many traditions and language and often communication is often difficult.
Pon is 27 years old and a member of the Lahu hill-tribe living in a small village near Chiang Dao with her husband and her son. Pon is HIV positive but speaks both Thai and Lahu languages. Pon has volunteered to accompany Rejoice and the CD hospital HIV health care workers on their visits to Lahu communities and villages. This will be a tremendous help since many of the Lahu people cannot speak Thai.
By accompanying Rejoice and the health care workers, Pon, can explain to the patients the importance of taking their medicine every day, side effects which may occur, the importance of testing and education about HIV and to help build confidence and trust towards the doctors and healthcare workers.
HIV within the hilltribe communities accounts for a third of all HIV infections at Chiang Dao hospital.
The following SWAY presentation highlights the problem among other ethnic minority groups;