Ar-lang receive a counselling session from Jiraporn Seasern health centre worker and health volunteer

Ar-Lang, 24, and her two daughters (Sirikorn, 1 year 9 months and Monthira, 2 years 8 months) are HIV positive. Ar-Lang is a member of a local ethnic minority co mmunity. Without Thai citizenship, she has not been able to access HIV treatment and early diagnosis in the past, and was unable to prevent her children contracting the virus. With Oxfam’s support, Ar-Lang has learned about HIV, and is able to access anti-retroviral treatment for her children. She also receives home visits to help her get her child to take the medication. Her community is about to receive a training workshop on HIV.

I get the drugs from the health centre here, and the nurse visits me every week. Recently, it’s been every day, in the morning and the evening, to make sure the baby takes the drugs. Since then, her health has improved, she doesn’t have a fever. I’ll try to make sure she takes the drugs from now on, but it’s difficult – you need two people. My husband never helps, he doesn’t want to even though he knows she needs it.

“I found out I had HIV when I gave birth to my older child. I wasn’t given any drugs to take because my CD4 count was still high, but I have been given powdered milk for my babies. I never thought about HIV before, I didn’t know anything about it. What I know now is that a person with HIV has to take drugs continuously or it damages their health.

“I don’t tell other people I have HIV, I don’t want to. I think they’ll hate me if I do. And my husband is stubborn, too. He won’t take the test. I know just one other person with HIV – people don’t tell each other. They are going to hold a meeting here of people with HIV and community leaders, to learn more about HIV. That will be good.”