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Posted 2011-02-15 23:22:09
HIV & STI/STD TESTING AT THE THAI RED CROSS CLINIC, BANGKOK
Today, I decided to go and have my first ever HIV test. I chose the Thai Red Cross Clinic in Bangkok. The reasons why I selected this option I need to keep personal, but I do have great experience of all major international hospitals in Bangkok, having been resident here for quite some time.
I was so impressed by it, I thought I should write the definitive guide to actually what happens – bearing in mind that my test proved negative. Prior to going here, I have read a lot of mis-truths about the place, so what follows is actually what happened earlier today.
The clinic is located on Rajadamri and is not part of the Chulalongkorn hospital complex. It is at the junction of Rajadamri and Sarasin, on the same side of the road as Chulalongkorn. If you are walking and you get to the Royal Bangkok Sports Club Exit 7, then you have gone too far and need to u-turn. The building looks like a large fat water tower, with (amazingly) red crosses interspersed on the exterior wall.
Look for the entrance clearly marked (though not to me at the time as I was in another place mentally) 'ANONYMOUS CLINIC' – in English.
Entering, on the right side is a curved large reception desk. Simply tell the lady, in English, that you wish to have some tests. She will hand you a form comprising 2 pages of A4 paper. They require very little information.
On the first, you state what test you wish to have by ticking one of many boxes. I will come back to this later. The very first box reads 'HIV/AIDS'. Another says something like 'All STIs' and I ticked that too.
On the second page, they ask you for two initials; one for your forename, the other for your surname. You can pick anything at all. There are no requests for ID whatsoever throughout the entire process, hence 'anonymous clinic'. The form does bizarrely ask for your mobile number and email address but as I did, you can just leave blank. You are asked if you are resident in Thailand and can answer how you wish. There is also an income question, and I ticked the 'earning more than THB 50k per month' as I had absolutely no problem in paying anything to get an internationally approved HIV test conducted and results known immediately.
She then passes you to a cashier right next to her where you pay THB 20 – yes 20 Baht – for a member card and importantly a uniquely numbered sticker (will come back to this). The member card bears the initials you choose and a unique number should you re-visit the clinic in future.
By the way, all conducted in English and all pretty word perfect.
Then its off to the Counsellor. All very matter of fact. Why are you here? Have you had sex recently? With a woman or a man? Did you use protection? No judgements. However, based upon your answers to his questions, he then recommends what tests you should have performed, so in my case, agreed with the HIV test and the Other STI test.
The website below is great for HIV (and other STI) symptoms and aided me in attending the clinic today:-
Then its back to the cashier to pay for the tests that you have agreed with the Counsellor that will be performed. The costs is THB 130 per test Now that may be based on my ticking of the more than THB 50k per month income box, or not, but really is unimportant.
Next, its the drawing of blood. As someone who has HATED this since being a child, I can honestly say I felt NOTHING. So very professional. Here, the nurse will print 2 stickers identical to the one you were handed when you arrived. You personally check the numbers to confirm they are the same as per your sticker and these are placed on the phials containing your blood.
Then the wait. By far the worst thing. Maximum one hour I was told. Mine took 40 minutes.
The correct phone numbers are 02 256 4107-8 x 208-9, but you don't need to call. Just turn up.
Service great. English great. And I'm HIV negative with no STIs.
I can't recommend it highly enough.
Posted 2011-02-16 00:27:59
I agree it is a great place. It can be a bit hard to find the first time you go there. The only thing I did not like at the time I went there was they did a fingerprint scan, therefore it is not truly anonymous.
Posted 2011-02-16 07:56:17
Thank you for posting this excellent description. I am pasting the directions provided in the HIV pinned notice.
In addition to HIV/STI testing, this clinic also does general health screening at very reasonable cost.
Posted 2011-02-16 19:29:01
Then the wait. By far the worst thing. Maximum one hour I was told. Mine took 40 minutes.
Six months after my first trip to Thailand ten years ago, I developed PCP Pneumonia, frequently an indication of HIV/AIDS.
I was tested and had to wait TWO WEEKS for the results;...longest two weeks of my life. 40 minutes sounds pretty good.
Edited by dddave, 2011-02-16 19:30:00.
Posted 2011-02-16 19:36:35
Because of this note, I went there today and was impressed.
I would say if you're walking, it's a long hike from Silom MRT and ever farther from Sala Daeng BTS stops. Maybe 12-15 minutes.
A few more details to spot the place: Pass the Chulalongkorn complex northward (same side or west side) and head to the next intersection (Sarasin). You will see the surrounding wall of the Red Cross compound by the red crosses embedded in the streetside wall structure. Enter one of the two gates (in and out), go to the big main door with rising steps. ATM to the right side. Look above the entry and you will see Anonymous Clinic.
Interestingly, I saw quite a few young university students singly or in groups signing up for tests and awaiting results. Don't know if it was for STDs etc.
Edited by Kaoboi Bebobp, 2011-02-16 19:37:53.
Posted 2011-02-17 08:51:19
Ratchadamri Station is the closest Skytrain stop for the Red Cross Clinic.
Posted 2011-02-21 18:38:17
Sheryl and/or others:
Re the Red Cross clinic, do they only do testing there.... or.... in the event of a positive test for something, do they have doctors there who can provide medicine/treatment?
Or the clinic will just refer you to a doctor elsewhere with their test results in hand?
Posted 2011-02-22 14:25:55
I went yesterday for a test for HIV and some other stuff after reading this.
Yes, they do all the drugs that you would need, C4 count and lots of other things that I have never heard about - they are all about HIV and AIDS - big AIDS and HIV writing outside/inside the building.
Cost 200b now for HIV test and cost me 480b for all my tests - all came back negative except Hep B which I have to wait a week for to get the results.
Posted 2011-02-22 22:48:35
They have a doctor who can prescribe meds altho I believe s/he tends to be overstretched in terms of caseload, so many people do go private if it comes to that (sometimes then coming back to buy the drugs at the Anonymous Clinic as it is considerably less expensive there)
And they have well trained counselors who would spend plenty of time with you should you test HIV positive.
The first step would be additional lab tests to determine if the infection was at a point where anti-retroviral drugs was indicated, all those tests can be done there.
Posted 2011-02-22 23:00:21
Bangkok Christian Hospital has a free Community Healthcare Clinic which offers a full anonymous sexual health screen for 100% free.
It's sponsored by the USA and is open to all.
Posted 2011-03-08 16:21:38
I went by the Red Cross Anonymous Clinic on Ratchadamri Road the other day just to check out the place and see how they operate... And indeed, it's pretty much as described above...
I'd clarify the directions for getting there a bit... The address is 104 Ratchadamri Road, a location about halfway between the Ratchadamri BTS station and the joint BTS Saladaeng and MRT Silom stations. The clinic building is located on the same side of the street as the Royal Sports Club, and on the opposite side of Ratchadamri from Lumpini Park.
Coming from the Sukhumvit area, the easiest way is to take the BTS Silom line to the Ratchadamri Station, come down on the Royal Sports Club side of the street, and then walk onwards on Ratchadamri Road toward Silom. You'll start at Gate 9 of the RSC, and the clinic is just beyond Gate 7, a few hundred meters up from the BTS station.
The clinic building indeed looks like a water tower, and is located just inside an open gate from the street. Height notwithstanding, you really won't see it ahead of time until you're right at the entry gate.
I didn't have any tests done, but I did pay the 20 baht fee to get a plastic anonymous ID card. The reception staff did speak English as did the counselor I spoke with briefly, who said they advise everyone, Thais and farang alike, to get an AIDS test every 6 months, even if they are in a monogamous relationship, which I found interesting.
In the brief paper questionnaire form they ask you to complete upon arrival, you get to indicate what service(s) you're seeking.
The list includes (in their order):
--Anal Cancer Screening Test (which I a bit sheepishly discovered is intended for MSM)
--Physical Exam Program
--Hepatitis / Vaccination
--Purchase Medicine/Consulation/Physician Appointment
--Cervical Cancer Screen Test (for women)
--Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening Test
--Nutrition Consultation (I assume for HIV positive individuals)
As far as I could tell from talking to the counselor, the three main blood tests they'll do while you wait are HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and Syphilis. And I saw info secondhand that indicated the pricing for those was 200 baht for the AIDS test, 200 baht for the Hep B test, and 60 baht for the Syphilis test... -- much less that typical local hospital prices.
From what I could gather, they could test for other kinds of STDs, but those aren't necessarily blood-type tests, and rather involve taking lab samples and such. But I didn't get into much detail with them on those issues.
Lastly, in trying to do some background checking on the Anonymous Clinic online, I read that it was the first clinic in Thailand not required to report HIV positive patients to the government. I have no idea what other local testing clinics may have that same exemption at present.
All in all, the Red Cross Anonymous Clinic seems like a perfectly reasonable place to go when needing to do one's periodic testing... Too bad it's not better known among the farang community.
Posted 2011-03-22 15:43:37
Just got back from visiting there today. Thank you everyone for the previous information and directions etc.
Fantastic place, speak very good English, very sensitive and discreet whilst still maintaining a very friendly atmosphere.
Paid a total of B280 (my income is under B50,000) for a plastic membership card (B20), an HIV and Syphilis blood test and a signed certificate documenting the results.
Absolutely pain-free blood sample taken and results given in a private room one hour later.
Fantastic service; well done the staff :-)
p.s. I'm not carrying anything unwanted other than a slightly large belly ;-)
Posted 2011-08-30 10:06:18
Does anyone have any info on the other STIs they can test for and the costs? I'm having trouble finding an affordable way to get tested for a complete panel of STDs in Bangkok.
Posted 2011-08-30 13:57:20
They can test for every STD that there is a test for. And can also test for related things like hep B. And are as inexpensive as you will find anywhere.
When you go, they'll have you meet with a counsellor who will discuss with you the tests you want and also make suggestions based on risk exposure. In other words they will help you decide what tests are most appropriate for your personal situation based on history of sexual practices/exposures. you'll be free to insist on additional tests as well if you so desire, thsi is just meant to help guide you.
The counselors are very professional and non-judgemental.
Posted 2011-10-04 14:04:28
The amazing thing for me due to a recent experience is the contrast in services between my home country and the Red Cross clinic here in BKK.
I was back in Canada in May and got a round of the usual blood tests. Results would take four or five working days, but with an HIV test, full results would take TWO weeks! I didn't have time before flying back here so skipped the HIV test. Then I come here and get a result in about 45 minutes. I remember going to another clinic (Sukhumvit soi 11) with results normally available the next day, but I went on a Friday and would have to wait till Monday. That was one LONG weekend. I'll never go to a clinic on a Friday that involves lab results!