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Many AIDS Victims Suffer From Hunger, Discrimination

Sufferers of HIV and AIDS often go hungry or without work, as discrimination against them continues, health workers say.

Medicine and proper nutrition have become crucial to the survival of many.

"Food is difficult and making a living is also difficult, because sick people cannot work properly," said Kou Sina, director of the group Urban Poor Women's Development. "If they know she is an AIDS victim, they do not give her an opportunity. And some victims just do domestic work for others, like washing clothes, while others collect garbage."

"Sometimes there is nothing to eat," she said. "They have to wait until their kids come back from collecting garbage at 1 pm or 2 pm with 500 riel to 600 riel each. They then add this up together to buy rice and low-quality or spoiled fish."

Some patients say even if they are provided with life-sustaining medicine, they won't survive the lack of nutrition.

"When it's time to go get medicine, we barely have money to get it, and very often we are blamed for that," said one patient. "We earn just enough for daily survival."