Cambodia: Phally: The Story of a Courageous Woman (August 2006)


When the home-based care team first visited Phally in December 1999, she was depressed and sick with an HIV-related illness. At that time, there were minimal HIV/AIDS services available in her area, and a referral system linking patients to other available services was non-existent. Support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR) helped to establish a "Continuum of Care" for people living with HIV/AIDS in Phally's home district.

"I used to be a primary school teacher. I have three daughters. My husband died of AIDS in August 1999. When I went for counseling and testing, I was told that I was HIV positive. I was really frightened. ... Now I'm on antiretrovirals," Phally explained.

Phally never gave up her desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. She is now a skilled and active peer-educator and counselor, who serves as a positive role model for her peers. Her friendly, lively personality inspires all who meet her. The involvement of Phally and other people living with HIV/AIDS in the Continuum of Care is central to the process of integrating and improving the quality of HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support services.

"I'm a member of the care and treatment team at Moung Russey Referral Hospital. I facilitate the 'Friends Help Friends' monthly support group meetings at the hospital. I also conduct counseling sessions with people living with HIV/AIDS, to prepare them for beginning antiretrovirals. An important part of my job is to visit people living with HIV/AIDS and their families while they are hospitalized, to provide moral support and information about HIV/AIDS and self care. In 2005, I participated with other people living with HIV/AIDS in a process of developing an interactive video discussion tool for people living with HIV/AIDS titled, 'Living Again.'"

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