Country Context: HIV in Lao PDR
There are an estimated 12 000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Lao PDR. Of these, 74% (8 939) are aware of their HIV status. Meanwhile, 47% (5 631) of PLHIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), with 45% (5 300) having a suppressed viral load. By far the highest prevalence of PLHIV is in Vientiane, followed by Savannakhet, Champasack, Luangprabang, and Khammouane.
Size estimates for key populations are as follows:
Men who have sex with men: 50 000
Sex workers: 13 400
People who inject drugs: 1 600
Transgender people: Statistic unavailable
Criminalisation remains in place for sex work as well as for the transmission, non-disclosure of or exposure to HIV transmission. Significant penalties also apply for the use of illicit drugs.
Lao Positive Health Association (LaoPHA)
LaoPHA has worked as an officially recognised community-based organization since 2005 and became registered as a local non-profit association in 2012. Their five priority areas are community advocacy, community mobilisation and network strengthening, human rights, public health and holistic activities.
The organisation is the focal point of a national network of support for people living with HIV/AIDS with whom they work and coordinate responses for across from key provincial and national level networks. Their work extends to not only PLHIV, but pushes for a broader agenda of support for high-risk and marginalised communities, including sex workers, drug users, men who have sex with men, transgender people, migrant workers, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and women.