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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MYANMAR: Freed Myanmar AIDS Activist Returns Right Back to
Mon Mon Myat
July 6, 2007
Agence France Presse (07.05.07) - Friday, July 06, 2007

People with HIV/AIDS lined up outside activist Phyu Phyu Thin's house in Yangon after Myanmar's military rulers released her Monday from a seven-week detention for a political protest. In May, Thin and more than 60 others were arrested after a prayer protest against the regime's arrest of National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since 2002, Thin has led NLD's AIDS program, connecting with the party's youth league and recruiting students and Buddhist monks as volunteers to help about 1,000 patients in Myanmar. She helps people with HIV/AIDS find housing, treatment at clinics - mostly run by international aid agencies - and home- based care.

While she is not a doctor, Thin says "her patients" range in age from two to almost 50, are at various stages of illness and mostly live in remote areas where health care is limited. "By the time many of them come to us, they already have AIDS- related illnesses," Thin said.

About 1.3 percent of adults are HIV-infected in Myanmar, where lack of prevention and treatment helps the disease spread, according to the UN. Military-imposed limits on travel in the country have hampered international aid agencies that are helping HIV/AIDS patients. More treatment access is needed, said Thin, to prevent people from dying and to protect the country's workforce.