Presenting author: Midnight Poonkasetwattana
Presenting author biography:
Based in Bangkok, Midnight has been the Executive Director of APCOM since 2011, working in multi-sectoral partnerships with governments, donors, the United Nations, development partners and most importantly the community and civil society organisations working on advancing SOGIESC rights, and alleviating HIV in Asia Pacific region.
Health, Equality, and Intersectionality: LGBTQI people who use drugs in Thailand
Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Gloria Lai
During this unprecedented period, community organizations are right at the coalface of issues of inequity and inequality that Covid-19 has amplified. In December 2020, APCOM, IDPC, Health Opportunity Network (HON), Ozone Foundation, and the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) in partnership with Rangsit University Department of Criminology organized a dialogue on issues faced by LGBTQI people who use drugs in Thailand.
This is in line with a scoping review undertaken APCOM to better understand the socio-sexual context of sexualized drug use among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW). It was found that privacy, anonymity, and secrecy were main concerns due to an environment where there are punitive drug laws, death penalties, incarceration and enforced treatment, as well as peer and family exclusion. Not only does this mean there are data gaps but it leads to public health implications, including transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, and shigellosis, and psychosocial health. Issues of mental health were identified in APCOM’s report Surveying LGBTQI+ situation in Thailand during Covid-19 Pandemic.
On 27-28 April, APCOM and IDPC orgainised a follow-up discussion on Drug Use in LGBTQI+ Communities: Access to Health Services and Human Rights Protection Mechanism. The following were the recommendations:
Health services and solutions
1. Promoting drug services under the NHSO's health coverage.
2. Health service units in Thailand (all hospitals) provide drug services, Chemsex services, covering the physical, mental, social.
3. Promoting the community to be a drug service unit/service center by government accreditation and budget support from the government.
Law Enforcement and Rights Protection
1. Drug users have knowledge of the law to access complaints and assistance processes.
2. Law Enforcement Compliance Standards of Case Deviation (According to the concept and practice).
3. The system to receive complaints and provide assistance due to rights violations.