Background: Thailand has battled the HIV epidemic for over three decades and has given priority to treating PLHIV with the latest drugs at affordable prices. However, ARV drugs alone are not enough to ensure quality standard care. Thus, Thai AIDS activities mobilized an advocacy effort for a national health insurance program which covers every individual and every condition.
Description: In the beginning of the Thai epidemic, PLHIV were severely marginalized individuals and, thus, had to form self-help groups with assistance from health NGOs. That network of support helped pressure the government to expand access to treatment as it became available. Despite the advent of effective ART, negative attitudes by health providers and cost of treatment still impeded access for PLHIV. Accordingly, in 2002, the NGO network and PLHIV campaigned for a universal health care system absent of discrimination against anyone for any reason. This advocacy was successful and, in 2004, the National Health Security System offered subsidized care to any Thai citizen, including treatment for HIV infection. However, this equitable service is under threat from Big Pharma and hospitals who are losing income from formerly-lucrative drugs sales, and are pressuring the government to return to a less subsidized approach.
Lessons learned:

Conclusions/Next steps: Progress in the AIDS agenda requires participation of the broader Civil Society - not just those working with PLHIV. AIDS advocacy must be seen as the responsibility of everyone, and universal health coverage is a viable strategy to begin with. That said, advocacy networks need to guard against powerful special interests which threaten to undermine a people''s movement for equitable and affordable health care for all.

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