Thailand

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CREDIT: E. Kang, Chiang Mai, 2013

Cognitive Markers of Multi-level Stigma Among Urban-Based Hill Tribe Communities Living with HIV in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) often contend with multi-level stigma related to illness and being identified with a socially marginalized group based (although not exclusively) on one’s ethnicity, sexual identity, gender, HIV risk behavior grouping (e.g., IDU, CSW), and economic standing. We propose an alternative explanation that shifts the focus from the psychosocial threats of stigma to the potential cognitive demand that stigma exerts on PLWHA. Given the limited capacity of human mental processes, the demands of continuously navigating multiple layers of stigma could conceivably deplete PLWHA’s cognitive resources, further taxing limited resources availed particularly to PLWHAs who belong to socially marginalized groups. Based on a sample of ~300 adults living with HIV in Chiang Mai – Lahus (n=150), an ethnic minority group, and Thais (n=150) – we hypothesize that experimentally induced thoughts of HIV and ethnic-based stigma will significantly reduce cognitive performance among the Lahus but not for Thais. Implications drawn from this study will further provide a compelling rationale for stigma-mitigating interventions and policies for PLWHAs of multiple minority statuses.

Collaborators: Peninnah Oberdorfer, Benjamin Pyykkonen

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CREDIT: E. Kang, Chiang Mai, 2013

Neuropsychological Functioning and Quality of Life Outcomes in Older Children with Perinatally Acquired HIV in Thailand

Successful highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) has resulted in an unprecedented decline in HIV morbidity and mortality among children living with perinatal HIV (CLWPH). This trend has generated considerable urgency in understanding various means of optimizing the health and quality of life for an aging cohort of children who are transitioning into adolescence. The prevalence of neurocognitive deficits among CLWPH remains steadily high. Despite numerous descriptive reports documenting neurocognitive deficits among CLWPH in Thailand, few studies have examined the functional consequences of focal neurocognitive delays on activities of daily living among older children living with perinatal HIV. Based on a convenient sample of children (13 to 24 years old) living with perinatal HIV and medically treated at Chiang Mai University we are examine  the relationships between specific domains of neurocognitive functioning (i.e., motor functioning, executive skills, verbal/ visual memory, expressive/ receptive language, information processing speed) and dimensions of quality of life.

Collaborators: Peninnah Oberdorfer, Darcie A.P. Delzell, Orawan Louthrenoo