Nyein Ei Ei Htwe
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The 35-year-old, HIV-positive herself since 2007, described how her whole family – including herself and her mother and father – had contracted the virus, and how her mother feared death so much that she took her own life, leaving Ma Yadanar alone to care for her father, young daughter and six younger siblings. She thinks her father got HIV through a blood transfer in hospital during the surgical removal of his leg due to diabetes. Then, when her husband died, her employer fired her from her job at a gold shop and told her not to work anywhere else.
Though often found among prostitutes, drug-users and men who have sex with men (MSM), the virus also affects those who are teachers or doctors or lawyers – anyone who has sex, has a blood transfusion, gets a tattoo or is otherwise exposed to someone else’s blood may be at risk. And discrimination against and shaming of HIV-positive people combined with inadequate knowledge of the condition is killing individuals, putting stress on families and ultimately leading to more individuals contracting the virus.
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