Thai researchers take a closer look at HIV

By Azhane Fleming

Correspondent

Professor Lynn Gazley presented her politics forum, “Local Politics and International HIV Research in Thailand,” on Thursday, March 28. Gazley presented students with information on the current and past research being done in Thailand by Thaids, a local clinical research center that has engaged in international research.

Gazley presents Thailand’s HIV research to a group of students at Thursday’s forum. (Warren Fields)

Thaids began its first study in 1996 with a few clinical trials in which they took patients from Thailand and began practicing solutions to the HIV Virus, Gazley explained.

She examined the practice at Thaids and the patients, who some people in the country felt were being used as “guinea pigs.”

“Many worried about the power dynamics between the study sponsors and the research subjects,” Gazley said. “Power differences matter.”

Gazley explained in her presentation that Thaids made up a class of particular patients. There was the local spectrum that conducted only “locally relevant research.”

Thaids first started its trials with Thaids Beta in 1996 and met the international requirements.

Gazley explained that Thaids still had to compete to execute the work they did and compete for reputational resources. Thaids continued many trials including ELAN which was the first international study, however, it had no Thai authors.

“It was easy for Thaids to be in lower class participation than higher class,” Gazley said.

Thaids’s post-trial study started as a way to provide care. However, it expanded to national treatment programs.

Gazley explained that Thaids then moved their focus from seeing their particular patients to a particular science.

Although Thaids has become a worldwide research center, one of the few in Asia and one of the best, some of the students in the forum wondered if they should change their focus.

“Their first strategy was to be global experts, the more effective strategy was to focus locally and adapt that to national patients,” Gazley said.

Many students in the forum took away very positive and useful information from Gazley’s presentation.

“This presentation made me wonder why Thaids did not get the recognition it deserved,” sophomore international studies major Leonard Schoponhone said.

Schoponhone said that he felt that this information was very relevant and useful for his future.

Many other students, like Lauren Lelicon, an international studies major, seemed to take away similar views from Gazley’s presentation.

“I learned a lot about Thaids HIV, in a research aspect,” Lelicon said.