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For HIV patients, Myanmar remains tough place to get care and treatment

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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 about a third were receiving treatment, and more than 15,000 died from the disease, according to UNAIDS.

PHOTO: In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, Thant Myint Win, a 34-year-old HIV patient, walks on a street in front of a clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. While infected tattoo needles are contributing to the spread of the disease in this country of 60 million, Win contracted the virus through unprotected sex. 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. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, Thant Myint Win, a 34-year-old HIV patient, walks on a street in front of a clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. While infected tattoo needles are contributing to the spread of the disease in this country of 60 million, Win contracted the virus through unprotected sex. 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. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

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.


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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. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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