IBM Teams up with Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center to Reduce New HIV Infections to Zero

IBM business analytics enable more efficient strategic planning and enhance HIV prevention

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Bangkok - 16 May 2012: IBM is collaborating with the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center (TRCARC) to strengthen efforts to prevent HIV and to make Bangkok the world’s first city to achieve "Zero New HIV Infections" by 2015. As part of this initiative, IBM is donating technology expertise and business analytics software to enable the center to design more effective intervention strategies to help end the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

The initiative is in response to “Getting to Zero,” a global campaign initiated by UNAIDS to stop new HIV infections, reduce discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and to reduce HIV/AIDS related deaths by 2015. The campaign was endorsed the Thai government in February 2011. Leveraging IBM business analytics, TRCARC can tap into all types of related information and share outputs with its alliance agencies such as the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health.

Professor Emeritus Praphan Phanuphak, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center said, “HIV infection is one of the most serious public health threats Thailand is facing. The country currently has about 500,000 people infected with HIV. It is estimated that there are 16,000 new HIV infection cases per year. Unfortunately, only 40 per cent of the HIV infected population knows they are living with HIV/AIDS and gets access to antiretroviral treatment services. This situation results in the continuing spread of the life-threatening virus and new infections are rising every year.”

Operating under the Thai Red Cross Society, TRCARC is a leading healthcare entity with a mission to provide people affected by HIV with access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support. Another of its roles is to initiate and execute high-quality HIV prevention programs, cultivate social responsibility and community awareness of HIV/AIDS, as well as conduct preventive and curative research in the field.

Prof. Praphan said, “We are excited to work with IBM and to adopt the company’s advanced technology and expertise. The IBM team helped develop a database and provided directions to manage behavioral records of people with high risk of HIV infection. IBM's business analytics capabilities also enable our researchers to make better decisions on more proactive and preventive measures against the transmission of HIV. This collaboration also helps foster a comprehensive platform for technical knowledge transfer and skills development among our staff.”

Previously, TRCARC launched many HIV prevention campaigns targeting epidemic hot spots to create greater awareness of HIV/AIDS and provide voluntary counseling and testing services free of charge. However, the center found that such activities had limited effect because information used to design campaign strategies was insufficient, inaccurate and outdated.

“This collaboration clearly represents IBM’s vision to build a Smarter Planet,” said Parnsiree Amatayakul, Managing Director of IBM Thailand Company Limited. “By adopting IBM technology, organizations are able to transform the way they work and improve the quality of life. We are thrilled to contribute our expertise and technologies to Bangkok’s initiative to fight against the transmission of HIV while empowering TRCARC’s research capabilities. This is our commitment to building a sustainable society.”

IBM donated software licenses and a technical team of highly experienced professionals to:

  • Create an online behavioral survey that can be applied among people with a high risk of HIV infection. To answer questions, respondents can access this survey via - and at TRCARC’s Anonymous Clinic.

IBM is also instrumental in giving scientists the computer resources necessary to research drugs that treat HIV, the disease which causes AIDS.  For instance, IBM's World Community Grid -- a network that provides researchers the spare computing power of two million PCs owned by 600,000 individuals and organizations -- has enabled the Scripps Research Institute to discover two new compounds that could lead to medicines for those infected with HIV.

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