When you have your health you have everything

Marist Asia Foundation began HIV Health work in the Migrant Town of Ranong in 2007. Migrants living with HIV AIDS are among the most abandoned in the community. Often abandoned by family, discriminated against at work and in the community, they tend to live in very difficult conditions. Here is a story about one of our patients.

We found a very sick lonely man in hospital. Thiha is his name. We approached him and introduced our organization and our service to him. We visited him in his place where he lived alone in a very old small hut near the sea. It was an awful place to live. There were many rubbish and plastic bottles around. His little hut was broken and the roof needed replacement. We supported and gave him nutrition and we followed up his medication closely. We helped prepared his food for he had no strength to do by himself.

In the very beginning, there was nobody who wanted to go near him. He did not have any family or relatives around. Through our support and care, he was getting better. He gained back his health and was able to work again. People in his neighbourhood became aware about his status and they also accepted his HIV status.

He was also able accept himself as HIV positive and was able to live with it. He looked after himself, attended his medical appointments in the hospital and took his medication regularly. He was very grateful to the Health Team for the patience to assist him and support him from the beginning. It took sometime to gain back his health and his self-confidence.

The health team journeyed with him for quite a long time through education on HIV and encouraged him to participate in the self-help group. In the long run, he responded well to the advice and assistance of the team. He was able to relate well with neighbors. He was able to communicate with his children and invited his elder son to come in Ranong to visit him. He became an active member in the Self-help group and shared his successful experience to the new patients which inspired and encouraged them.

He is currently working as labourer at saw mill company in Ranong. He lives a balanced and healthy life. He became an independent patient who can sustain and support himself and he now sends money back to Myanmar to support the education of his daughter.

As he shared with the Health team, there is one thing that he learnt in his life: “when you have your health, you have everything.” It was very true for the health team to help him restore his health which helped him to be able to reintegrate with his neighbour, with his friends and especially with his family. It made him whole again.