Narinjara news

Nowhere to go for HIV/AIDS patients

Sittwe, 9
th June 03:  For the people affected with AIDS/HIV there is nowhere to go for succour, said a doctor in Sittwe, the capital of the western Burmese state of Rakhine.

When a man aged 45, Thein Zoe Aung, of Kyaungdaklan Street of the town died of AIDS in his own house in April his corpse was bundled in plastic sheeting by the workers of the state hospital and taken for cremation.  His house was also disinfected.  His relatives said that there is no place to go for any medication or treatment for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.  The lone state-run hospital also does not have any wards for HIV/AIDS patients though the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers is on the increase in the state.  There has been no study or data collection conducted on the number of HIV/AIDS positive people all over the seventeen townships of Rakhine State including Sittwe

A doctor of a health NGO said that one out of three sexually transmitted disease patients have been tested positive for the HIV/AIDS, and everyday the risk of an epidemic of the disease increases due to the reluctance of the ruling military junta either to recognize the disease as a public threat or raise an awareness campaign to motivate people. 

Though there is no recognized prostitution in Burma the number of illegal prostitutes and intravenous drug pushers are on the rise, which has in recent years contributed to the alarming rise of the number of HIV/AIDS patients in the state.  In the society, too, due to lack of awareness people consider the sufferers of the disease that has no medical care or treatment as something dreadful and to be rejected socially, said an elder in the town.

Reports of death from confirmed full-blown AIDS have been received from other townships like Kyaukpru, where Maung Hla Khin (30) died from it a few months ago.  As the social stigma goes majority of the people who die from the disease or who suffer from the scourge is seldom reported, the elder concluded.  #