Today, MPLUS Foundation, a local community-based organization working to prevent HIV/AIDS and STIs among men who have sex with men and transgender women, opened the first key population (KP)-led clinic that will provide a one-stop service for a comprehensive HIV and STIs programming for KP clients in Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai Province.
The MPLUS Polyclinic Chiang Mai is operated by the MPLUS Foundation and endorsed by the National Health Security Office (NHSO). The clinic operates under MPLUS’s social enterprise business model which promotes a diversifying organizational funding portfolio, enabling the continuation of and sustainable HIV services to KP clients. With the support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Meeting Targets and Maintaining HIV Epidemic Control (EpiC) Thailand project, NHSO, and the Institute for HIV Research and Innovation (IHRI), MPLUS Foundation has successfully expanded its healthcare services for key populations within the province.
Among the dignitaries applauding this effort were Andrew Leahy, Political, Economic, and Public Affairs Unit Chief, U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai; Mr. Worawit Chaisawat, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai; Dr. Thongchai Keeratihatthayakorn, Director-General, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health; Jennifer Erie, Director of Office of Public Health, USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia; Dr. Wuttipong Thayaping, President of MPLUS Foundation; and representatives from the Department of Disease Control, NHSO, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and UNAIDS Thailand. The clinic opening underscores the collaborative efforts between government agencies and civil society organizations, supporting Thailand's strategy to end AIDS by 2030.
The MPLUS Polyclinic Chiang Mai integrates a person-centered approach, streamlines service processes, offers differentiated services tailored to clients’ needs, and empowers lay providers to offer services to their peers. It is accredited as a healthcare facility for HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment services by the NHSO, and is therefore entitled to receive reimbursement from the Royal Thai Government for HIV services offered to key populations, ensuring sustainable services delivered by community-based organizations.
USAID, through the EpiC Thailand project, supports MPLUS Foundation to expand HIV services to key populations in Thailand, particularly men who have sex with men and transgender women. From October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023, MPLUS reached 9,549 key-population individuals, accounting for nearly half of the total provincial HIV testing target. In the same period, MPLUS provided Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a combination of HIV drugs which, if taken adherently, can substantially reduce the risk of HIV infection, to 659 HIV-negative clients and supported 435 clients living with HIV to be retained in HIV treatment services.