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  Social Relief

Families support HIV/AIDS patients

Many HIV/AIDS patients teetering on the thin line between life and death usually do not have much reason to want to live. However, the power of love showered on them by family members has for many become a motivation to continue their fight for life.

Every day, many heartrending scenes can be witnessed in Infection Department E of HCM City’s Tropical Disease Hospital (TDH).

One elderly woman prays for her grandson, a drug addict who became infected, in the hospital every night: "Please save my grandchild one more time. I promise I will re-educate him well."

She has been staying with Lieu (not his real name) since he was admitted to hospital, doing everything in her power to look after him.

Seeing him writhe in pain, she continues blaming herself for the mistakes he had made.

"Because I’m poor I’ve always been busy trying to earn money. When he was young, there was nobody to look after my grandson", she says tearfully.

Nguyen Phuong Lan of Binh Tri Dong Ward, Binh Tan District has had to shoulder a heavy burden since her 18-year-old son tested positive for HIV.

Her son used to be a good student in high school and nobody would have thought that he would one day find himself in this serious situation.

"When my husband died, I tried to earn money to nurture him to become a good person. It was difficult but I tried my best," she says.

She can’t hide her emotions when talking about her son’s medical treatment. She had to sell her VND175 million house to pay his medical costs, but she will do anything for her son to live.

Lan’s son now feel regret over what he had done. He tries whatever he can to make his mother happy.

Another patient, Nam, has tried to kill himself a number of times.

"I think of dying just because I don’t want my parents to suffer when they see me in pain", Nam says.

Nam used to be a cameraman earning a lot of money. After being persuaded by friends, he tried drugs for fun. Since then, his life has been taken over by drugs and has come to an end.

In December 2005, HCM City had 27,669 HIV-positive patients, of which 10,448 had full-blown AIDS and 4,788 had died from AIDS.

In the six months up to April 2006, 258 pregnant women have been diagnosed with AIDS.

TDH has 43 HIV/AIDS patients, of which 80 per cent are between 17 and 29 years old. In most of the cases, parents and relatives have had to face many difficulties to pay their children or grandchildren’s treatment costs.

These patients have become a burden on their families.

"Our patients easily suffer spiritually, becoming weaker. If their families know how to look after them and console them, it is better than any treatment we can provide," says Nguyen Duy Phong, a doctor at TDH.

Life continues for HIV/AIDS patients who get their families and relatives’ love and sympathy.

Vietnamnews - (21/04/2006)

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