Last week Untenu got an emergency call from Cambodia: an HIV positive gay man was seriously ill because he did not have money to collect his ARV (HIV medicine). He suffered seriously weight loss, had skin problems and he even didn’t have money to buy food. On top of this his motorbike was broke.
No money > no ARV
We call him S. S. had permission to stay under an half open improvised tent.
How did S. life turned out so badly? S. lived from a volunteers fee of $40,- which he earned from the MSM & TG Project of CPN Plus. Since the funding of this project declined they where forced to stop paying their volunteers. $40,- is in Cambodia just enough to feed yourself poorly for one month.
S. also worked as a motodop, a motorbike taxi driver. But misfortune seldom comes alone. His motorbike broke down and S. lost all his income.
Little money means that you have to make tough choices. Do you buy rice or a taxi to collect your ARV? A choice people living with HIV barely have to make in the Western world.
This is where S. stopped to use his ARV and got in the condition his friends found him last week.
This is where Untenu came in. We quickly transferred enough money to organise food for one month, our team in Phnom Penh took him to a clinic and bought the medicines he needed for his skin problem. The also repaired his motorbike so he is able to make a living when he feels good enough.
But… this was emergency aid. S. needs as quickly as possible so called level 2 ARV. Level 2 ARV should be payed for by the Royal Government of Cambodia but most clinics have no stock.
In the last days we did an an appeal to all of our colleagues in Cambodia in order to help S. on the medication he needs. We are afraid that if nothing happens S. life is in danger.
To protect S. privacy we don’t use his full name and we don’t use photos of him. The shelter on the photo above is his real ‘home’.