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AP Photos: HIV patients in Myanmar struggle

By GEMUNU AMARASINGHE
Associated Press
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/05/01/34/595-1jMUgS.Em.55.jpeg|204
    Gemunu Amarasinghe - AP Photo
    In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, a portrait of General Aung San, an independence hero and father of Myanmar’s opposition leader Suu Key, is displayed on the wall of the National League for Democracy's HIV/AIDS prevention and caring center as patients infected with HIV and their family members rest in South Dagon, outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Patients from throughout the country take residence in the center for three months to receive Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) regularly.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/05/01/35/456-grq6w.Em.55.jpeg|204
    Gemunu Amarasinghe - AP Photo
    In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, a young man infected with HIV rests on the floor of a clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. The shelter, set up by the opposition National League for Democracy party, provides a refuge for patients from all over the country, with more than 70 getting Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) regularly. Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/05/01/34/89-FcheT.Em.55.jpeg|204
    Gemunu Amarasinghe - AP Photo
    In this Aug 27, 2014 photo, a woman infected with HIV stares up at the hand of a volunteer as he adjusts her intravenous drip at a crowded clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. This clinic admits around 10 new HIV/AIDS patients every month, many of them from the country’s delta region in the south. Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/05/01/34/773-1kQyvO.Em.55.jpeg|210
    Gemunu Amarasinghe - AP Photo
    In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, HIV patients and their relatives find sanctuary at a clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of dictatorship and self-imposed isolation, has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year from malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery, diarrhea and a litany of other preventable illnesses.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/09/05/01/34/792-1n5pSA.Em.55.jpeg|206
    Gemunu Amarasinghe - AP Photo
    In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, a woman infected with HIV receives intravenous infusion at a clinic set up by the opposition National League for Democracy party in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Of the estimated 190,000 people who lived with the virus last year, only around a third were getting treatment, and over 15,000 died from the disease, according to UNAIDS. Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV.

YANGON, Myanmar Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of dictatorship and self-imposed isolation, has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year because treatment is lacking for many diseases, including AIDS.

Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV. Of the estimated 190,000 people who lived with the virus last year, only around a third were receiving treatment, and more than 15,000 died from the disease, according to UNAIDS.

A center set up by the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been providing care and treatment for people with HIV for nearly two decades, but they have repeatedly been forced to move, in part because of harassment by government officials. Now, they are hoping they've found a permanent home on the outskirts of the country's biggest city, Yangon.

Follow AP photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gemunua
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