Monday, June 05, 2006

Negative lives for HIV-positive victims

NST: BACHOK: When HIV patient Mek Na (not her real name) went to buy grated coconut from a sundry shop in Rantau Panjang recently, the shopkeeper threw the purchase in her face because he did want any physical contact with the 31-year-old.
The packet broke open, spilling its contents on her clothes. At that point, she said, she felt like killing herself.
Mek Na’s experience is one of dozens Dr Zahrain Zulkifly comes across in his work for Pertubuhan Masyarakat Prihatin (PMP), an NGO that helps single mothers with HIV and AIDS in Kelantan.
Her experience is symptomatic of the ignorance of the disease in the State.
This was why Kelantan had the highest number of women who were terminally ill with HIV/AIDS in the country, said PMP founder Zaimah Husin.
HIV-positive women contracted the virus from their husbands, who were infected through intravenous drug use and promiscuity, she said at a tahlil in conjunction with the International AIDS Memorial Day here on Saturday.
All of the 110 single mothers under PMP’s care were diagnosed through screenings during pregnancy or when the virus was detected in their children or husbands.
According to Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab infectious diseases consultant Dr Maheran Mustafa, for every case diagnosed, four remain undetected.

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