Although there is no cure for HIV infection, treatment with anti-retroviral drugs can control the virus allowing people living with HIV (PLHIV) to lead healthy and productive lives.
HIV is a virus which weakens the immune system and can lead to serious infections and some forms of cancer. Worldwide, approximately 14 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2014. It is important to detect infection with HIV as early as possible so that treatment can be started before the body’s immunity becomes badly damaged, but in 2014 only half of PLHIV were aware of their status.
HIV in Timor-Leste
First case of HIV detected in TImor-Leste
cases of HIV diagnosed since 2003
TL is vulnerable to a rapidly increasing incidence of HIV due to:
• high levels of population movement and socioeconomic displacement • low incidence of condom use • low level of awareness of STIs and HIV • poor access to HIV and STI screening • presence of risk behaviours within at-risk groups
“Dealing with HIV in and of itself is a major challenge but what this virus does to TB, already our number one health concern, is ice water in our face. Having HIV makes active TB 10 times more likely.This along with an ever increasing threat of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis makes controlling the HIV epidemic top priority.”Dr Dan Murphy
HIV Management at Bairo Pite Clinic
BPC cares for the largest number of PLHIV in Timor-Leste.
Around 100 adult and child patients access treatment at the clinic.
We take a holistic approach, knowing that counselling and support is just as important as medicine
A Safe Space
BPC Counselling cabin is in a quiet corner of the compound, tucked away at the back. The Counselling and Social Care staff have planted a lovely garden around the HIV cabin, to give it a homely feel and to make the place seem more private. Stigma and discrimination is particularly damaging to a PLHIV and their family as it can create a barrier to the patient seeking treatment or remaining adherent to their treatment. The clinic has worked hard to educate all staff about HIV as an issue and to ensure that fear and ignorance do not fuel stigma and discrimination.
‘Nowadays when I come to the clinic I am greeted in a friendly way by all the staff, I feel safe and comfortable when I come to get my medicine or to consult the Doctor. I also know the staff understand they must not gossip about the patients, so I feel confident about confidentiality’ “These days we can take medicine and remain healthy, but we must take the medicine every day and get regular check-ups. If we take our medicines and follow our Doctors instruction we can be very healthy and normal and work and enjoy our families, just like everyone else ” – PLHIV