|The most advanced weapons used to be found only in the hands of the most powerful state actors, because of how much it costs to obtain them and the expertise required to use them. Now there is a much lower barrier to entry. More than 75 nations have cruise missiles and more than two dozen nations have armed drones. Those numbers will continue to grow as more sellers like China introduce the technology into the world arms market. (As fate would have it, the Saudis recently bought Predator-drone knockoffs from Beijing.) But there is no money for health on any of these nations including the US., But our story is about a small community who was hit very late by HIV and you figure, damn it's a good timing, we got stuff to even make HIV become not infected and thus it will disappear but not if all these little islands, communities in the jungle start getting it now as the west becomes their "Friends" whose friends they become infected. Adam Gonzalez|
This is 'The sad story'
This edited article by Saut Sok Prathna is from VOD News, an independent news site in Cambodia, and is republished on Global Voices as part of a content-sharing agreement and adamfoxie blog International for professionally publishing the story.
The house of Yem Chrin, a local medic now serving a 25-year jail sentence, stands abandoned in Roka commune in Cambodia, located in Battambang’s Sangke district.
In 2015, a provincial court found him guilty of providing treatment without a license. Among a host of other charges, Yem Chrin was found to be responsible, ultimately, for spreading the HIV virus among hundreds of villagers in 2014 by reusing dirty syringes.
For a time, the case drew national and international attention as it was gradually discovered that almost 300 villagers — from young children to 80-year-olds, and monks at local pagodas — tested HIV positive.
With the attention came to support: Guidance on learning to live with HIV, the upgrading of local roads and clinics, extra programs to help children’s education.
But five years later, life in the commune has become one of mostly silence and early death. Ray*, a 66-year-old woman living with HIV said
No one pays attention. No one thinks about us. I don’t know why they don’t care.
Saloeun, 34, said she and five family members are HIV positive. She was weak and tired on most days and found she had trouble remembering things.
The children and older people in the commune needed more support, she said.
Some children have lost their mothers. They should be given support to continue their studies.
Samoeun’s 13-year-old son lives with HIV. The 34-year-old mother said she felt isolated as the family faced constant discrimination.
I’m so lonely. Don’t they want to recognize me? I don’t want it to be like this.
Local officials, however, said they were doing what they could for the commune. Su Sanith, the deputy director of Battambang’s provincial health department, said the local government paid close attention to Roka’s plight even as international and national aid dropped off.
When the outbreak of this disease happened, there was an increase in both national and international aid for them. But later on, it seems quiet.
Still, 95 percent of affected villagers were receiving antiretrovirals, with just 10 people who migrated or stopped taking the drugs, Sanith said.
Thirty-one of the 285 HIV-positive villagers had died since the outbreak, he said, though most of them were over the age of 60. One infant and three younger people were also among the deceased.
At least two new cases of HIV had also been discovered in the commune, Sanith added.
Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak touted a newly paved road into the commune and the upgrade of its health center into a hospital with skilled doctors as evidence of the government’s support.
They get [support] from the Red Cross and so on. The people are now less afraid because they understand how to take care of their health.
But for the residents of Roka commune, the dwindling levels of care don’t seem on par with the difficulty of living every day with the disease. These days, it seems they are mostly left to cope alone, they said.
Samoeun, the 34-year-old mother, said she had taken to selling boiled ears of corn on her motorbike and making trips into Thailand to try to earn extra income for her son.
She had not seen any governmental officials visit the area in over a year, she said. A sense of neglect and disappointment was turning into resentment.
“I don’t want to be forgotten,” she said.
*The women’s full names have been withheld.