CityNews Article Archive:
Fighting HIV in Chiang Mai

July 25, 2012

CityNews – Interview with Sophie Le Coeur French expat and HIV medical researcher in Chiang Mai.

Sophie Le Coeur is a medical researcher who collaborated in the research of treatment strategies to prevent the infection of HIV from mother to child. Le Coeur arrived in Thailand during a time of crisis. It was 1996 and the HIV epidemic had reached its peak. She flew with her husband and three children directly to Chiang Mai, the epicentre of the emergency.

“HIV positive women are now able to have children without transmitting the disease to their offspring,” said Le Coeur. “Nowadays HIV should be considered like any other chronic disease, for example like diabetes. But unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma attached to it.”

Le Coeur’s most recent project involves a group of Thai adolescents, aged around 15, born when drugs for the prevention of transmission from mother to child were unavailable. This is a group of children who caught HIV in their mother’s womb. “We want to know what their situation is now, and what do they need for their futures.” Many of these young people have faced stigmatisation. “Now that they are older, they are facing issues like entering into sexuality and being a HIV positive adult. Like many adolescents with a chronic disease they may stop taking their medication, they want to be like everyone else, it puts them at risk.”  

To read the full interview make sure you log on to or get a copy of Citylife magazine out on the 1st of August.