About Lhak-Sam

Lhak-Sam, which translates to altruism, embodies the principle of selflessly considering others before oneself. Established in 2010, Lhak-Sam is the sole Bhutan Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (BNP+) registered under the Civil Society Organization Authority (CSOA) of Bhutan.

On October 8th, 2009, eight PLHIV (four males and four females) residing in the city convened for the inaugural coordination meeting in Thimphu. During these gatherings, a rule was established to keep the meeting room door tightly shut, communicate in hushed tones, and remain vigilant for potential eavesdroppers. Our actions were driven by our own fears and preconceptions.

In 2011, coinciding with World AIDS Day on December 1st, five PLHIV (four males and one female) collectively decided to sacrifice their private, social, and family lives by publicly disclosing their HIV status, thereby giving a human face to the AIDS epidemic. Despite our concerns about public opinion and acceptance, we were amazed by the inspiring and appreciative response from individuals who deemed our actions courageous and compassionate. Since then, Lhak-Sam has remained dedicated to preventing new HIV infections, reducing social fear, stigma and discrimination, promoting human values, and eradicating AIDS-related deaths.

In 2016, on the 109th National Day, in an acknowledgment of our commitment and efforts towards the national cause, His Majesty the King of Bhutan granted Lhak-Sam the National Order of Merit in Gold. We were honored for volunteering our time and efforts to champion humanitarian values, our culture and traditions, as well as our national objectives. Our steadfast dedication to supporting and assisting where the government falls short, along with our commitment to upholding the sacred values of compassion and empathy, were recognized.

Throughout our journey of growth and development, we have received substantial assistance and support from various generous organizations, stakeholders, and donors. Their wholehearted contributions have played a pivotal role in enhancing our capacity, broadening our exposure, and elevating our standards for meaningful engagement. We are deeply moved and grateful for their invaluable investment in diligently fortifying the community system, and our commitment to the cause remains resolute. Over the past twelve years, we have effectively led the HIV response, accumulating valuable experience, knowledge, and wisdom along the way.

Today, our voices resonate powerfully, even within policymaking circles, and the public acknowledges our sincere contributions to societal well-being. Furthermore, we take immense pride in being recognized as equal partners in the nation’s response to the HIV epidemic, advocating for greater involvement of people living with HIV (PLHIV), and Key Affected Populations (KAPs) in the battle against AIDS.

Guided by the edict issued by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan in 2004, our collective response to HIV/AIDS is founded on His Majesty’s visionary principles of “SHARED CONCERN, JOINT RESPONSIBILITY, AND COMPASSION.”

In our demonstration of resilience against the epidemic, we are actively contributing to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including No Poverty (1), Zero Hunger (2), Quality Education (4), Gender Equality (5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (8), Reduced Inequalities (10), Peace and Justice (16), and Partnership for the Goals (17).



To create and promote a strong support system based on solidarity, social networking and people’s active participation for taking collective actions towards effective response to HIV/AIDS, and it’s associated negative impacts.

Core Program Activities:

  1. Advocacy and Representation

Represent for the legitimate interest and rights of PLHIV and their children, and that of the key affected populations (KAPs) at various levels, engage actively with the like-minded partners and individuals, and influence policies, programs, procedures and legislation that creates barrier to access to vital health services, violates human rights, and meaningful livelihood.

  1. Access to Comprehensive HIV Services

Adequately inform, educate and enhance the social complete knowledge on HIV and AIDS, and prevention, diagnostics, and treatment services. Empower constant precautionary practices, and encourage and improve regular services seeking behavior, and facilitate linkage/accompany to the needful services while ensuring services providers are sensitized, trained and are confident to deliver services that are nonjudgmental and discriminatory. 

  1. Capacity Building and Empowerment

Build the capacity and enhance competency of the committed PLHIV, and the secretariat staffs for the systematic and efficient functioning of the organization’s mission and to foster leadership for meaningful engagement in policy dialogue, programs, collaboration and resource mobilization to further strengthen community-led initiatives, self-reliance, self-determination, and resilience.

  1. Stigma Reduction and Social Inclusion

Challenge and reduce the prevailing social fear, stigma and discrimination of AIDS through regular information and education programs which are based on the scientific facts, and real-life experiences, and decrease self-stigma and isolation among the PLHIV and their children by building self-esteem and confidence through peer-counseling, treatment literacy, and self-help group programs.

  1. Networking and Collaboration

Build and further strengthen the cooperation and foster collaboration with the relevant partners, stakeholders and donors within and outside the country through regular contacts, consultations, exchange, and updates to combine strengths and resources for reaching a common goal.

  1. Research and Evidence Building

Generate and effectively utilize the evidences for evidence-based planning of organizational and national HIV response programs, and use it meaningfully as evidences to advocate for changing the policies, laws and procedures that creates barrier to services, including social welfare and economic empowerment schemes.

  1. Resource Mobilization and Sustainability

Increase financial capacity and ensure sustainability of the organization through various means of resource mobilization methods, including through income generation activities, institution of endowment fund and efficient use of the available resources. Strengthen the relations with the existing allies and donor by proving trustworthiness, and further network to explore new collaboration and partnership.

  1. Skills Development and Livelihood

Enhance the livelihood of disadvantaged PLHIV and their children through vocational skills development trainings, and facilitate access to microcredit loans for economic development and fostering entrepreneurships.

  1. Access to Community-Based Care, Shelter, and Livelihood

Ensure that the disadvantaged PLHIV and their children finding difficulty to live in their place of residence due to stigma and discrimination, and those abandoned by their family members has access to meaningful community-based care, shelter, and livelihood facilities at the Lhak-Sam Livelihood Centre.


“To create a Bhutan free of the burden of HIV and AIDS by 2030”


At Lhak-Sam, our mission is to proactively prevent new HIV infections, reduce the effects of prejudice/discrimination, and end AIDS-related fatalities in Bhutan by working closely with partners and donors. We are committed to achieving this through meaningful participation of people living with HIV and AIDS and fostering a resilient support system founded on solidarity. With dedication and compassion, we strive to build a future where every person in Bhutan has access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services. Through our unwavering commitment to this mission, we strive to make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS and build a society free from the burden of this disease.



The first coordination meeting of PLHIV was called by Mr. Wangda at the Thimphu HISC.


CSO registration documents for Lhak-Sam submitted


His Majesty the King grants audience to PLHIV. First Five HIV/AIDs individuals comes out in BBS


Lhak-Sam enhances its reach with members in other dzongkhags


Lhaksam’s first strategic plan (2014-2018) drafted and launched by Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck.


Three HIV positive people comes out publicly


Lhak-Sam signs a nine months grant agreement with the UNODC Drug Abuse Prevention Center (DAPC) based in New Delhi, for the prevention of drugs and alcohol use among school dropout youths in Thimphu


Coinciding with the 109th National Day of Bhutan 2016, Lhak-Sam received the National Order of Merit (GOLD) from His Majesty the King


Lhak-Sam consecrates a small community based care center home on at Genekha on the user right certified land on lease from the government.


With support from MSA Grant, Lhak-Sam developed an instructor’s manual for comprehensive HIV and AIDS Treatment Literacy Module in 2018


Two more reveal their HIV/AIDs status in public at Samtse



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