Thursday, 15 May 2014

Kenneth Cheung: Co-exist with AIDS for two decades

Co-exist with AIDS for two decades
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Spoken by Kenneth Cheung Kam-hung
Original: http://www.vjmedia.com.hk/articles/2014/05/15/72344 

[It is a tapescript of Cheung speaking on a TV programme on Anhui TV, China.]

At the end of 1995, after three months of fever, diarrhoea and pneumonia, I was suffering from breath difficulties. I entered the hospital, and the doctor asked me to do a HIV test. It was positive.

Since working in an AIDS organisation as a volunteer, then starting my own charity, and studying in social work in the last few years, I have gradually 'co-existed with AIDS for nearly two decades'.

Some might say, "There are lots of difficulties out there, why standing out?" 
True indeed, there are always discrimination. But we have to know why are we standing out here. If we just sit and wait until our families and friends are ready to accept us - will there by such a day? Why will they understand more? Why is the society more and more advanced? That's because some people stood out!
I came to this programme today, because I would like more audience to see a real AIDS patient.
Discrimination is more scary than AIDS itself!
Thus, many patients are not optimistic and active. In these years, I have encountered many sad cases. They carried HIV, and were forced to quit school, jobs, aspirations. They cannot be civil servants, teachers, policemen, lawyers because they cannot pass through the body check. Some of them even run away from home. Some patients had other chronic diseases or had some accidents, and were rejected by hospitals. When their lives were in jeopardy, no doctors are willing to do surgery for them. Some are depressed, and ended their lives.

張錦雄
Through advancement of medicine and regulation of my body, my situation is now quite stable. I had my follow-up consultation every three months now.
My CD4 Index (which reflects my immunity) was 8 in 1995, but after the cocktail therapy was invented, my CD4 remains between 500 to 700 in the past decade, which lies within normal range. The HIV content are way below 20, which is incomparable to millions of HIV back in 1995.
China has promulgated the "Four Frees and One Care Policy" for ten years already. Now the patients receiving free treatment can kill 99.99% of their AIDS virus in their bodies with medicine. When the virus content are below inspection level, their immunity can gradually recover. So now, AIDS is just a chronic disease.
If it is spotted out earlier, patients can co-exist with very little amount of virus, and go to work, study, travel, love, marry and live up to their grey years as commoners!
We should get rid of the spectre of death pyramid and fear of AIDS.
These years, I felt that I am capable of changing something - giving care and hope to others. I feel that I am obliged and responsible in doing this. 
Because I believe changing the world starts from oneself.
Thank God for giving me a special play for my life, a challenging role for me to experience a wonderful life.
In the future, I will continue my charity work, and chase after my Rainbow China dream!
Last but not least, I would like to encourage patients in China, and end this with my talk today:
"You don't insist on things for having seen the hope, but because only if you insist on them can you see the hope."
「我們不是因為看到了希望才去堅持,而是因為堅持了才會看到希望。」

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