Although Thailand is often described as a "gay paradise" in media abroad, the reality for many gay, bi and transsexual people is far from paradise. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are stigmatized in Thai society. The result is discrimination and the consequences are grave.
A recent study has shown that HIV prevalence among MSM in Thailand is increasing again and has reached critical levels.
Male sex workers face many additional problems, partly because of the illegal setting in which they find themselves. Many belong to ethnic minorities or are illegal migrants from Burma. Because of their non-citizen status, gainful employment is scant and many men turn to sex work in order to support their families. Sex workers also face a language barrier, where negotiating safe sex with a client can often be difficult.
If working with the issue of MSM and HIV interests you, Cultural Canvas Thailand places volunteers within a local organization called Mplus. Mplus is a project financed by USAID through FHI Thailand. Mplus work primarily with sexual health for men who have sex with men, MSM.
Mplus has a wide span of activities such as workshops, English education for male sex workers, and handing out condoms and information at places where men meet to have sex. They have also had activities with local schools informing about safe sex, stigma against sexual minorities and activities that promote familiarity with condoms. Mplus also offers face-to-face counselling, phone counselling and plans to set up on-line counselling. Mplus currently consists of about 1000 members.
All of Cultural Canvas Thailand's volunteer placements deal with social issues such as discrimination and the abuse of basic human rights. You will be learning about the lives of people from another culture and the problems they face such as poverty, hunger, disease, prejudice and many others. You will build relationships and gain an understanding of the issues confronting Thailand and many other parts of the world.
For more information about Mplus, please visit our website at http://culturalcanvas.com/msm-and-hivaids-outreach-and-education-program
Applications are ongoing, so please apply at any time.
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Background Check
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- Minimum 3 weeks