Wednesday Friends’ Club
The Wednesday Friends’ Club is a peer support group for people living with HIV at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre. It provides counseling and support to clients with HIV and those at-risk for HIV infection.
The Wednesday Friends’ Club was founded in 1990 for the Thai Red Cross’s HIV-infected patients. The idea was inspired by Chulalongkorn Hospital’s HIV-infected and AIDS patients’ tradition to gather every Tuesday morning with social workers and hospital nurses for their regular examination at the Immunization Clinic. Before and after the examination, the patients would get to know each other and share knowledge of new breakthroughs in AIDS treatment that they had heard or read about. New patients would meet other patients already being treated and learn from them how to cope with the knowledge/discovery of their illness. It is widely accepted that no one can give better comfort or advice to AIDS patients than those who share the same plight. Support groups in which peers are encouraged to talk about their experiences and comfort each other are much more beneficial than doctors or psychologists. The Thai Red Cross educated the patients who led the group about the disease and gave them training in one-on-one and group counseling techniques.
After their regular meeting at the clinic, the patients usually arranged to meet again on the third Wednesday of the month. Thus, the “Wednesday Friends Club” was born. The club provides various services free of charge to members, such as meditation, massage for relaxation, hair styling, classes on how to give talks on AIDS, and field trips for education and relaxation. The club also sends its members on various occasions to give talks to raise public awareness of how important it is to prevent HIV/AIDS. This kind of tasks is often better accomplished by people living with HIV/AIDS than by AIDS experts. Also, Since 1991 every year on December 1st, the Wednesday Friends’ Club and the Thai Red Cross have co-organized an annual event called “Tien Song Jai” to promote good understanding between HIV patients and the public and increase awareness on HIV/AIDS.
If you have any questions about or need advice on the HIV virus or any information about how to live with people with HIV/AIDS, contact us at(+66) 2-253-2666. Our staff are available to help you on weekdays from 9.00-16.00 hours.
To support the Club
Donations to support the Wednesday Friends’ Club can be made through Siam Commercial Bank account “The Wednesday Friends Club”, account number 045-2-62650-9.