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AP Photos: HIV patients in Myanmar struggle

Saturday - 9/6/2014, 3:30am  ET

In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, HIV patients and their relatives find sanctuary at a clinic in South Dagon, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of dictatorship and self-imposed isolation, has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year from malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery, diarrhea and a litany of other preventable illnesses. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

GEMUNU AMARASINGHE
Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of dictatorship and self-imposed isolation, has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year because treatment is lacking for many diseases, including AIDS.

Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV. Of the estimated 190,000 people who lived with the virus last year, only around a third were receiving treatment, and more than 15,000 died from the disease, according to UNAIDS.

A center set up by the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been providing care and treatment for people with HIV for nearly two decades, but they have repeatedly been forced to move, in part because of harassment by government officials. Now, they are hoping they've found a permanent home on the outskirts of the country's biggest city, Yangon.

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Follow AP photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gemunua


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