Pattaya Daily News

13 June 2006 :: 17:06:03 pm 22042

HIV/AIDS In Thailand, A French Volunteer Doctor Helps Combat

HEARTT2000 Campaign, Dr Philippe Seur has been working 8 years in Thailand rescuing HIV-AIDS patients, mainly Thai. Altogether he has seen, helped and treated 1,321 patients (Dec. 98 to Feb.06 ).
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  Initially, there were no government aid schemes, necessitating reliance on sponsors from the network of NGOs, hospitals, some concerned doctors, patients and individuals in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, USA, and Australia to whom he would appeal for the Anti-Retro-Viral (ARV) drugs necessary to administer the triple therapy, which is the main bulwark against the disease.
   
   AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is the reduction of protection of the body‘s immuno-defence system, which allows opportunistic diseases like tuberculosis, cryptococcus meningitis, or pneumonia to infect and often kill the patient. The stage before AIDS is HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) chronic/prolonged infection and it is at this stage when the patient doesn’t show any symptoms, that they can go for an Immune (CD4) Cells blood check, so that ARV treatment can be given, in cases of significant CD4 drop, as a prevention of AIDS.

   Thailand is now a leader in ARV access worldwide giving free first-line ARV treatment to all patients in need of it. Currently, there are 80,000 patients being treated at public district hospitals under the national 30 Baht scheme and 10,000 being treated under private insurance schemes.

   Since the advent of the national 30 Baht and the ARV access medical scheme, many patients of Dr. Philippe, after initial assessment/treatment, have been sent by him to government hospitals in Chonburi, Bangkok and the provinces to continue treatment, 400 at the last count. However, he still helps the difficult cases with special ARV needs, personally; as many as 3 or 4 new patients a day are coming.

   Most patients become HIV+ through sexual contact, hetero or homosexual. Other causes include direct transmission by infected blood or other body fluids, and the use of contaminated needles. Previously, infected blood transfusions were a risk though they are not so curently and also contamination from mother to child, but the national project now preventsw it . Often partners of infected patients become infected themselves, via their partners, if no prevention is carried out.

    Prevention is still regarded as the best policy, despite the availability of free treatment: responsible condom use remains the best prophylactic or preventative measure. However, condoms occasionally break, exposing individuals to risk. Now, thankfully, there is a Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, “PEP” treatment, to be taken within 3 days, a 4 weeks course of ARV treatment to reduce the risk of transmission of infection. Dr Philippe strongly advises those who believe they may be at risk due to a broken condom accident to go for a blood check and follow it up with the PEP treatment, which minimizes the chance of becoming infected.

   Despite the national 30 Baht medical scheme, Dr Philippe is still largely dependent on contributions to help patients with ARV treatment who are not yet in any of the national schemes. Often organizations, keen to help alleviate the AIDS problem, hold fund-raising events, as was once more done recently by the Pattaya Gay Festival, a long-term, main sponsor of Dr.Philippe. However, despite these organizations’ benevolence, it is still necessary to acquire more funds to ensure HIV-AIDS relief. Dr Philippe‘s association entitled “HEARTT 2000″ (Help Ensure Aids Rescue Together in Thailand) is the body through which contributions can be made.

Anyone wishing to do so should contact Dr.Philippe by e-mail at philippe.seur@gmail.com

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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