Nowhere to go for HIV/AIDS patients
Sittwe, 9th 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. #