HIV-positive migrants denied care at Thai public hospitals

A migrant living with HIV shows her ARV drugs to a journalist during an interview at the migrant health office of the NGO Raks Thai Foundation in MahachaiBy Alisa Tang BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Zaw, an illegal Burmese migrant dying of AIDS-related illnesses, spent a weekend hunched over in waiting rooms at three Thai hospitals near Bangkok – each denying him care as he gasped for breath, his lungs full of fluid. Zaw died 40 days later – a death the Bangkok-based HIV Foundation that was helping him says could have been prevented with timely care. “That’s the story we have once every six to eight weeks: people in this situation, and we can’t get them the care they need in time,” Scott Berry, an Australian adviser for the HIV Foundation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The country has had a health package for migrants for more than 10 years, officials say, but an August 2013 policy expanded the migrant health insurance benefits – at a cost of 2,100 baht ($ 64) per person – to include HIV prevention, care and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

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