Today we have an interview with Mr. Charnwit Pakam, whom we usually call P’ Lek. P’ Lek has been working as a HIV and STDs counselor for more than 20 years. Currently, P’ Lek is working at GLOVE CLINIC and he is also one of GLOVE CLINIC founders.
GLOVE CLINIC: HOW WAS IT STARTED FOR YOU TO BECOME A HIV AND STDs COUNSELOR?
P’ LEK: Back then one of my friend was diagnosed with HIV and that was how it started. I wanted to help my friend so I became very interested and wanted to research more about this disease. I started with being a volunteer at “Wednesday Friends Club” for 4 years. It was a club which gather HIV patients and let them exchange their experiences in order to help and support each other under supervision of psychologists and counselors. Later, I realized that I really liked this job. After that, I continued working as a counselor at the Anonymous Clinic (Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center) for 10 years.
GLOVE CLINIC: WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE THIS CAREER?
P’ LEK: Very easy question 🙂 I JUST LIKE IT!! Many years ago, HIV patients were strongly discriminated and they didn’t know where to go or whom should they talked to. They were scared of being despised and rejected. It makes me feel happy when I could help them feel better and continue living their after the consultation.
GLOVE CLINIC: ACCORDING TO YOUR EXPERIENCE, HOW PEOPLE’S ATTITUDE HAS CHANGED FROM MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO COMPARING TO NOW?
P’ LEK: That is really a HUGE change. Right now, HIV patients are a lot more accepted in Thai society. The discrimation is not as strong as it was in the past. Furthermore, the medications are being developed all the time and there are lots of new medications which contain less side effects and better qualities comparing to the previous ones. The patients can live their lives just like normal people only that they need to take the medication regularly.
GLOVE CLINIC: HOW SHOULD ONE PREPARES ONESELF BEFORE HIV TEST?
P’ LEK: The most important thing is preparing to accept the positive result. It is advised that you think about how you will cope with the result physically and mentally and how this will affect you and people around you. If you’re ready then you can visit our clinic for the test. However, if you are not sure if you are ready but you really want to get the test done, our couselors and doctors are willing to help you go through the process.
GLOVE CLINIC: IF I GET DIAGNOSED WITH HIV POSITIVE AT GLOVE CLINIC, CAN I CONTINUE RECEIVING TREATMENT HERE?
P’ LEK: The patient can choose either to continue receiving treatment here with us or continue his/her treatment in a hospital.
GLOVE CLINIC: HOW SHOULD I TELL OTHER PEOPLE AROUND ME ABOUT HIV POSITIVE RESULT? I AM SCARED THAT THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO ACCEPT.
P’ LEK: First, “Why do you want to tell him/her?” is the question you have to answer. You want to tell the person so that he/she can get the treatment or get tested? It is necessary that you know the purpose of telling that person about your HIV status. Second, you have to accept the consequences. For example, if they decide not to continue any relationship with you after knowing that you have HIV, you will have to accept that. Another thing to consider is that there is a chance that the person might tell other people about your HIV status. Therefore, it is recommended that you have thought carefully before telling it to someone.
Thank you so much to P’ Lek for this interview. Nowadays, people are more opened about HIV and STDs and these are not something that should not be mentioned anymore. The earlier we get the tests, the better for ourselves. The new generations of HIV medications are developed in order to have less side effects comparing to those from 20 years ago. Although there is no cure for this disease at the moment but the injectable HIV medication are being introduced to the world and we hope that this might be able to replace the oral medication.
If you would to book a consultation with P’ Lek, please contact GLOVE CLINIC by phone via (+66)92 414 9254 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or LINE OFFICIAL (@gloveclinic)