Outreach Work

The Outreach Program makes home visits once a week. If new people with HIV/AIDS present themselves at the Friday morning clinic a consequent visit to assess their home and livelihood is made. Recently a visit was made to a young couple in poor circumstances. Pon and Tan both have HIV/AIDS but Tan had not told his wife Pon that he was infected. They have a 4 year daughter and Pon recently needed to start on ARV drugs for HIV/AIDS as her CD4 blood count was very poor and she was fighting infections. She quickly developed a skin reaction to the drugs and the couple feared that people would know they had HIV/AIDS by the skin changes and Pon’s weight loss and they retreated to the rice fields. They gave their 4 year old daughter to Pon’s parents to raise.  After doing a home visit the real circumstances of how they were living became clear.  and they live in what is normally a shack on the edge of the rice paddies where people seek shade in the middle of the day when they are working.  They have no running water and no electricity and use the water from an old fish pond for washing and cleaning. Occasionally they pick up jobs harvesting rice or sugar cane but there is no steady work for them. They remain fearful of telling anyone of their illness, as they are scared  of not being given what little work is available, they also do not want to tell their family as they worry that they may cast the granddaughter away and so they would have no way of sending her to school and providing for her.

Old roof on the house

New roof

During the home visit support was given and information that with the proper treatment and care HIV/AIDS was no longer a death sentence. They were also encouraged to tell their family of their diagnosis so as they could have their daughter checked for HIV/AIDS. However, they remained adamant in their decision.  In order to meet the couple’s needs they were asked how the Outreach Program could help them. Their requests were simple – they didn’t have enough money to repair the broken down roof of their shack and they were worried about how they would survive the wet season later in the year. They also needed the outside hole in the ground toilet repaired and a well sunk for water. After further discussion four chickens were requested so they could use the eggs and meat and vegetable seeds were suggested for them to grow their own food.  

Chicken coop

Repairing the toilet

The Outreach Program has purchased sheet iron and Tan has fixed the roof himself. He has used the old roof to make a chicken coop for the new chickens. They now have a new mosquito net to replace the old ripped and torn one and piping has been bought to repair the toilet. A well still needs to be sunk for water and for the first 3 months until Pon is well enough to find work, rice, eggs, tinned fish, sugar, salt and milk are being supplied monthly.  So far 5000 baht or US$170 has been the cost of the expenses for this family. But of course they need much more than material support as they struggle to be accepted while the stigma of HIV/AIDS and the fear and ignorance of the disease prevails. 


February 2012

Kate Introna