Myanmar's new government has pledged reforms, though little is likely to change for the roughly 240,000 people there living with HIV/AIDS.
According to Doctors Without Borders, some 85,000 HIV-infected people in Myanmar cannot access antiretroviral treatment. A new member of Parliament, Phyu Phyu Thin, is hoping to change that. The HIV activist, who founded an AIDS hospice in Yangon, has called for the government to increase its health and education budget to purchase more HIV/AIDS drugs and combat disease-related stigma. "The two most important things are sufficient drugs and health education," she said.
Social rejection of people with HIV/AIDS is all too common. Families frequently shun relatives who are diagnosed HIV-positive. "HIV patients are often left alone and abandoned by the family," said Phyu. One 42-year-old mother of six has experienced that rejection. "[My husband] promised to come back but I'm afraid he never will," she said from the Yangon hospice, where she has been for two months.
Phyu and others worry the new government will do little for those living with HIV/AIDS. The number of patients in the hospice doubled between 2010 and 2011, she noted. "Actually, nothing has changed. The situation has even declined," she said.
Back to other news for June 2012
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