Raks Thai Powerteen Network – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Raks Thai Power Teen Network was founded in 2007 supported by Raks Thai Foundation that has experience providing care and support services for children living with and affected by HIV in the north region of Thailand for over 7 years. Currently, the group consists of 25 young people living with HIV between the ages of 14 – 22, all of them are peer educators (male, female, young people of gender diversity) who are from communities and home shelters in Payao and Chiang Mai.
Raks Thai Power Teen Network is the first network in the north region of Thailand to work on sexual and reproductive health of young people living with HIV in collaboration with other networks of youth and people living with HIV and through youth mechanism called ‘Youth CAB’ in Chiang Mai and ‘Power Teens’ in Payao. In addition, some of their members carry on field visits to the Chiang Mai University Hospital, where other young people are picking up their ARVs, making themselves available to answer questions about treatment, adherence and sexual and reproductive health.
With initial support from the Asia & Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA) and the HYLF two-year grant, the Support Group has been able to expand its activities to include a sexual and reproductive health manual for YPLHIV in Thai, as well as sexual health workshops. They are also advocating for the removal of mandatory HIV testing protocols for Thai students applying to university. Lately, the Support Group has also begun outreach to migrants in the rural Phayo district, where increasing numbers of Burmese workers often lack access to basic health services, including HIV prevention, treatment and care. While the Support Group is youth-led, Raks Thai staff provide mentoring, counseling and support for fundraising.