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Author Topic: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?  (Read 1598 times)

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Offline Genomity

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Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« on: December 16, 2019, 04:00:26 pm »
Hi, I think my last destination in life would be Thailand for various reasons (I live in New York now), including HIV stuff. I think i like Asia better and in Thailand they're good with HIV people.

I wonder if anyone could share their experience/thoughts (besides teaching English) on how do you support yourself there? On what money do you live there off?

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2019, 04:10:19 pm »
Cool question.

I've lived in 4 EU nations myself but have always wondered about semi-retiring so working and living abroad as in outside the EU.  So can't input much on this topic but will be interested to see what people say.
 
Best, Jim
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Offline Mindless

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2019, 08:50:27 pm »
Hi Genomity,

I’ve been living in Thailand for about 5 years. I work for a foreigner private company which has its headquarters in my home country. I can confirm Thailand is a good place as far as hiv treatment is concerned (eg. some medications are cheap). I’d say stigma is still very high though.
In general, I’d say Thailand is not everyone cup of tea: climate, food, culture are completely different (just to mention a few) and can be challenging especially for westerners. I had a few colleagues running back home after a few years here. That said, there are many positive things: people are generally friendly and not judgmental, some things are cheaper than in the west and life in general is much more “relaxed” and “easy”.

Hugs

Offline daveR

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2019, 10:50:43 pm »
I have been living in Thailand almost 27 years. Started with a job here with an oilfield service company. This gave me a work permit and visa. All taxes paid. Back then it was very easy going, as Mindless points out the people as a rule are indifferent to us being here but the government is not.
I no longer work in country but rotate from other countries usually on a 4 week basis. If you can get support from a company it is much easier. As of late the Thai government has been making life harder for individuals. Being over 50 I can get a one year retirement visa but this has financial requirements. I can meet them but a lot of retirees are leaving for other destinations and not through choice. They are also enacting registration laws which affect you if you come and go or move around in the country. For me as I do not own the house in which I live, my wife does, every time I come back from work I have 24 hrs to get to the immigration bureau and register my presence. A lot of messing around.
I have no real rights, except the right to leave if I do not like it. No benefits, never be rich enough to become a citizen. Have to pay for my own medical treatment, which luckily is cheap enough.

Before you make the move just do some research into visa requirements, insurance requirements etc.

For me though, in spite of the Thai governments recent efforts to make my life hard, I would not live anywhere else.

Good luck
Dave

Offline Loa111

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2019, 04:57:36 am »
I lived there for years too, though returned to Europe a few years back.

I taught school proper, was head of the dept.  as opposed to being an English teacher, as I'd a teachers license from Thai gov. Also did some online biz and fitness training for a few people for extra income.

I really enjoyed the lifestyle there, owned a lovely house, lived 10 minutes from the beach. Loved the climate, warm weather 365, swimming,  and just liked the vibe of the place. This is the pros. I had a proper visa n work permit which was great.

Cons were... capped as high as I could go job wise and pay wise. Whilst most Thai people are nice, smiley n friendly, really you have to accepted being a 2nd class citizen with no rights. For example if you were laid off with your job, your work permit n visa expires, and you have to leave within days. No social security system if unemployed (even though I paid social insurance). I've seen westerns get stuck there when their options run out, and I didn't want that to happen to me.  Plus it's become expensive there too these days.

I was time to come home , n get my kids a western education.

I didn't know I had our mutual problem as I was only Dx'ed after a year or so back home. I am very glad I was not DX'ed in Thailand... I do not like Thai doctors at all (just me personally, do not have much faith in them). So it would have been frightening for me to be Dx'ed over there.

By goal, once my kids grow up is to semi-retire back there for 3-4 months of the winter, maybe do a bit of teaching. Enjoy life. :)

It's a great place to live if you have a pension or money from abroad coming in, or maybe an offshore oil worker doing the month on month off. It is not a fun place if someone has limited money or a tight budget.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 05:00:19 am by Loa111 »

Offline Mindless

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 08:19:42 am »
Quote
Before you make the move just do some research into visa requirements, insurance requirements etc.
Very good point, having my visa and work permit covered by my company I didn’t consider that. I also have a company health insurance: oh, btw, of course hiv and related problems are not covered, so you will have tp pay everything by yourself unless you have a foreigner policy that covers you abroad.

Quote
Plus it's become expensive there too these days.
Agree, if you want to have a decent living standard, life is not so cheap anymore. Unless you want to live the Thai way but most westerners can’t sustain that in the long term.

Quote
It's a great place to live if you have a pension or money from abroad coming in, or maybe an offshore oil worker doing the month on month off. It is not a fun place if someone has limited money or a tight budget.
Agreed, you need a fair amount of money to afford a decent quality living, prices of good quality goods are same or even higher (eg imported goods) than in the west. Local stuff is cheap but quality not comparable (eg food quality).

Hugs

Offline Genomity

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 12:37:26 pm »
I am not new to living abroad, I used to live in China and it seems about right what you're saying.

Anyway, other feedback would great too whoever wanna add to it. It is VERY helpful.

Living in Thailand on a tight budget is tough but if you have a roommate.... 

Well just a thought - if anyone's interested, I guess I'm looking for a partner or someone serious who wanna live in Thailand and we could rent an apartment together, thus saving on that, plus with a friend (or whoever) it's easier to leave for a month to your city so the other one would take care of the apartment and things and vice versa.

Please let me know - for now it's an indefinite proposal. You can send me a private msg as well. For now I live in New York, I'm a healthy HIV+ guy with lots of interests :)

Offline wardp

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 05:43:24 pm »
If the baht stays strong I would consider moving to hoh chi Minh or even Mexico .it's not cheap here now.im not sure about hiv treatment in Vietnam or Mexico ?
Diagnosed 20,July 2017. Cd4 289, 21% vld .3,462 Started atripla 4 Aug 2017 5oct 2017 cd4 384 21%, vl ud less than 20. Switch to complera 4 Nov 2017 switched to stribild 15 the Nov. Switched to truvada efavirence 200mgx2 14 Dec 2017, 2 Feb 2018, us cd4  466, 25%  CD 8 ,595, 32%..1 may 2018
switched  to instgra truvada.7th june switched to truvada  nevirapine stavudine. .21 june switched to truvada nevirapine. X 2 a day...9 aug 2018 ud. 2n Nov 2018 CD 4. 455..22.70% 13th Nov switched  to lamivir and nevirapine  due to kidney issues...jan 10,2019 UD..may 13 2019 ud  cd4 482 28% 14th nov 2019 ud. Cd4 414 .27% cd8 444 29%,may 16 2020,ud ,cd4 741"19.62.

Offline joemutt

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2019, 08:27:35 pm »
This question is not living-with-hiv specific for me.

Offline Genomity

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2019, 08:18:04 am »
If the baht stays strong I would consider moving to hoh chi Minh or even Mexico .it's not cheap here now.im not sure about hiv treatment in Vietnam or Mexico ?

I agree, Vietnam sounds good too to me, but I don't know about immigration policy there and HIV stuff there at all. All I know that for me I wanna be living in an Asian country, I just like it there. That's why I was thinking about Thailand.

Offline henryocho

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2019, 04:01:55 am »
I worked and lived in Hanoi (North) for 5 years until last year. I never lived in Ho Chi Minh (south) but visited HCM, Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Yangon numbers of time.

Vietnam Visa
To live, you need to have work permit or tourist (business trip) visa. Work permit is usually 2 years and tourist visa depends on your nationality Longer business trip tourist visa needs invitation letter but you can buy and apply through travel agency (online) and get visa on arrival. Usually 30 - 90 days. I had a NZ friend who comes with 90 days visa and did visa run. Generally government office in HCM is more relaxed and Hanoi is more strict.

Public healthcare
If you work in Vietnam, you are required to join public health system (need to pay health insurance levy) in theory you can get medical treatment at public hospital. In practice it is almost impossible if you do not speak good Vietnamese. They do not speak English. Also most of public hospitals in Vietnam does not meet international standards. WHO used to fund HIV treatment in Vietnam but I think they stopped funding a few years ago and I thought Vietnamese public health insurance only covers certain group of people (like pregnant women etc) for HIV treatment. I only went to public hospital in Hanoi once for STD test but it was very challenging and interesting experience.

Things in Vietnam are much cheaper than Bangkok and airfare to Bangkok is cheap too. So it could be better to receive HIV treatment in Bangkok and live in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos. Vietnam is not for everyone, lots of pollution, motor bikes, and people. Local Vietnamese food is quite basic (very cheap). Hanoi is (sometimes very dirty) hotter in summer and much colder in winter with very high humidity (70%+). Life in Laos is very relaxed (may be a bit boring) and food is close to Thai food. Vietnamese are friendly but not many people speak English. Apartment in Hanoi is around USD500/month and food is around $200 if you eat at local restaurant and occasional dinner out with drink.





Offline Genomity

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2019, 09:13:02 am »
I worked and lived in Hanoi (North) for 5 years until last year. I never lived in Ho Chi Minh (south) but visited HCM, Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Yangon numbers of time.

Vietnam Visa
To live, you need to have work permit or tourist (business trip) visa. Work permit is usually 2 years and tourist visa depends on your nationality Longer business trip tourist visa needs invitation letter but you can buy and apply through travel agency (online) and get visa on arrival. Usually 30 - 90 days. I had a NZ friend who comes with 90 days visa and did visa run. Generally government office in HCM is more relaxed and Hanoi is more strict.

Public healthcare
If you work in Vietnam, you are required to join public health system (need to pay health insurance levy) in theory you can get medical treatment at public hospital. In practice it is almost impossible if you do not speak good Vietnamese. They do not speak English. Also most of public hospitals in Vietnam does not meet international standards. WHO used to fund HIV treatment in Vietnam but I think they stopped funding a few years ago and I thought Vietnamese public health insurance only covers certain group of people (like pregnant women etc) for HIV treatment. I only went to public hospital in Hanoi once for STD test but it was very challenging and interesting experience.

Things in Vietnam are much cheaper than Bangkok and airfare to Bangkok is cheap too. So it could be better to receive HIV treatment in Bangkok and live in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos. Vietnam is not for everyone, lots of pollution, motor bikes, and people. Local Vietnamese food is quite basic (very cheap). Hanoi is (sometimes very dirty) hotter in summer and much colder in winter with very high humidity (70%+). Life in Laos is very relaxed (may be a bit boring) and food is close to Thai food. Vietnamese are friendly but not many people speak English. Apartment in Hanoi is around USD500/month and food is around $200 if you eat at local restaurant and occasional dinner out with drink.

Thank you for this info!!
I have a question though: For ex. China requires you to be HIV- to work there, otherwise you won't get residence permit and you'll be deported (yeah I know).

What about Vietnam?

Offline Expat1

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2019, 06:34:42 pm »
I first visited Thailand in 1987.

I worked in a top international school in the early 1990s.

Worked there a few years and in neighboring countries also for a few years. But no real pension programs so returned to USA to work for pension.

Along the way bought a house in 1999 which I sold at peak market on 2005.  The proceeds from that sale, the right to a pension with 25 years public service when I reached the age at which I could withdraw money and 2 403b accounts, provide adequate income and reserve to live nicely.

Most foreigners either teach or have pensions. 

The current government is not keen on foreign immigrants. Previous government's were much more accommodating.

The days of border hopping are over. (LIMIT 2 OVERLAND 30 DAYS EACH YEAR).

So teaching ESL if you have a degree yields about 35000-45000 baht.

Your pension needs to be 65000 Baht.  Problem is that it requires tedious documentation on the pension.  I had 1 mistake when 67000 Baht came in to a local bank and was mismarked as a local transfer rather than an international transfer.  It took several meetings over several days to get the local immigration police chief to accept my 50 or 60 pages of supporting documents, and was told that next year there would be no leeway.

The alternative  is to place 800,000  baht on deposit in a local Thai bank.  And then basically leave it there.  You use to be able to then spend it as long as you replenished the funds a few months before your annual renewal request for an extension. No you pretty much have to leave it on deposit.

Living here is a lot different than vacationing here.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2019, 06:37:06 pm by Expat1 »

Offline Expat1

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2019, 06:58:37 pm »
I first visited Thailand in 1987.

I work in a top international school in the early 1990s.

Worked there a few years and in neighboring countries also for a few years. But no real pension programs so returned to USA to work for pension.

Along the way bought a house in 1999 which I sold at peak market on 2005.  The proceeds from that sale, the right to a pension with 25 years public service when I reached the age at which I could withdraw money and 2 403b accounts, provide adequate income and reserve to live nicely.

Most foreigners either teach or have pensions. 

The current government is not keen on foreign immigrants. Previous government's were much more accommodating.

The days of border hopping are over. (LIMIT 2 OVERLAND 30 DAYS EACH YEAR).

So teaching ESL if you have a degree yields about 35000-45000 baht.

Your pension needs to be 65000 Baht.  Problem is that it requires tedious documentation on the pension.  I had 1 mistake when 67000 Baht came in to a local bank and was mismarked as a local transfer rather than an international transfer.  It took several meetings over several days to get the local immigration police chief to accept my 50 or 60 pages of supporting documents, and was told that next year there would be no leeway.

The alternative  is to place 800,000  baht on deposit in a local Thai bank.  And then basically leave it there.  You use to be able to then spend it as long as you replenished the funds a few months before your annual renewal request for an extension. No you pretty much have to leave it on deposit.

Living here is a lot different than vacationing here.

I have lived the past 13 years here in Thailand.

Offline henryocho

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2019, 11:23:54 pm »
In Vietnam if you need/want to work for the period which is more than your tourist visa period, you need to apply for work permit. In order to get work permit you need medical certificate including HIV test result usually but I am not sure if HIV+ result affect your application as it is grey area of law. Also there are lot of corruptions. If you want to just stay there for 90 days, come and go, no need to apply for work permit. But if you have work permit, you can apply for 2 year visa but without it, you only get usually 90 days. Work permit is not residence visa. One of good things in Vietnam is term deposit interest rate. It is currently around 7% (VND though) If you are owner of business in Vietnam you do not need to apply for work permit and also certain occupations (like lawyer and accountant) is exempt from applying work permit. You can buy property but process could be complicated.

In Cambodia, you can buy one year business visa at travel agent and can also buy property and open bank account (USD term deposit is around 3%). One of my friend is going to retire there from next March.

In Malaysia, there is retirement visa scheme. Visa is for 10 years.

Better you travel around the countries first before you make decision.

Offline Expat1

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2019, 09:48:01 am »
In the past few years a lot of expat have moved from Thailand to Cambodia and Phillipines which both have easier visa schemes.  The are also both less developed (especially  Cambodia) and have higher rates of crime .

PS. Never  buy a house in Thailand.  You can buy it you just can't "own" it.  Condos can be purchased but buyer beware.  You probably won't own a share of the common area.  The annual funds are often inadequate to pay for the necessary upkeep. If the guy above you has a leaky bathroom, FOR EXAMPLE, you will probably get stuck paying to repair it.  Better to rent. 

Offline MrHopeful

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Re: Living with HIV in Thailand - how do you support yourself?
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2020, 07:36:59 pm »
I moved to Thailand in 2013 got a TEFL certificate and landed a job teaching creative writing at a fancy high school in Bangkok. The challenge with teaching English in Thailand is the pay is a bit low. It’s hard to save money and have a decent lifestyle. I did that for a semester and landed a job with a startup.

I think freelancing would be a better way to go, less hours, better pay, more freedom. Also, one could teach English online while living in SEA, but not long term in Thailand unless you can work out a visa, which can be a challenge.

I am living in Mexico City now and happy to answer any questions related to living and working abroad.
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