Cover page Our Families, Our Friends: An action guide mobilize your community for HIV/AIDS prevention and care ISBN/DATE



Prepared by United Nations Theme Group on AIDS, Thailand in collaboration with WHO Thailand

A joint publication of UNDP/UNOPS and UNAIDS



HIV/AIDS touches all sectors of society. To ensure that families and communities can build up the resilience to withstand the impact of HIV/AIDS will require the joint effort of every member of the family and community.
The United Nations Theme Group on AIDS, Thailand, in its effort to identify and document best practices, together with WHO, Thailand and the UNDP-SEAHIV, selected to document the experience of Mae Chan community, Chiang Rai.
Mae Chan is a community with many people travelling through from the neighbouring countries of Southern China, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Myanmar coupled with outwardly mobile young people of their own communities. The Mae Chan community has experienced the impact of HIV/AIDS from the early stage of the HIV epidemic in Thailand. Having gone through the initial denial and rejection of People with HIV/AIDS, hardly a household has been able to escape the scourge of AIDS as the epidemics became endemic. The people in the community have come to the realization that they must cooperate and collaborate in order to help themselves and their community to survive through HIV/AIDS.
The remarkable aspect about the Mae Chan experience is the ability of the people to join together and sincerely respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS amongst them with compassion. The health care team from the Mae Chan community hospital, the monks from the temples, the teachers from the schools, the youth from the community and the local authorities all have friends or families affected by HIV/ AIDS. In Mae Chan they came together to work and complement one another.
Many rural communities in the Greater Mekong Subregional countries, due to the increasing movement of people, economic opportunities and growing HIV epidemics, experience similar challenges as that of Mae Chan. The UNDP-SEAHIV, in collaboration with UNAIDS-APICT, has decided to assist selected rural communities of these countries by having a hands-on learning of the Mae Chan model through professional attachment and training workshop in November 2000.
To facilitate the learning, a user-friendly guide was developed with the assistance of a team of communication specialists: Christopher Lowry, Lesia Olexandra and Paula Chabanais. This generic guide, based on the Mae Chan model, is meant as a basic tool for people in communities who are motivated to work together and involve all relevant sectors. Communities from different countries interested in the model will adapt the users' guide to their own structure and system.
UNDP-SEAHIV has translated this generic guide into Chinese, Khmer, Laotian and Vietnamese to facilitate the people from rural communities in different countries to have access to the model. At the request of the Mae Chan team, who is now also assisting other communities by disseminating the experience of their approaches, the guide will also be translated into Thai language for use by other communities in Thailand.
We wish to point out that before considering any models, a community should go through the process of self-assessment. Adaptations of the model into their own unique social, cultural, economic context can be made to fit within their own health and government structure.
The generic guide can be adapted to countries in Africa and elsewhere in addition to these in South-East Asia. It is our sincere desire to facilitate the dissemination and adaptation of the concept of this good work and efforts made by the Mae Chan people with other communities throughout the world, thus making the original purpose of documenting a good practice into reality.
Together, we can make a difference in building HIV resilient families and help friends to decrease community HIV vulnerability.

Download publication in pdf format: English,
Burmese, Chinese, Khmer, Laotian, Vietnamese






January 2001