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Vietnamese woman devotes self to children living with HIV

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 14:53 GMT+7
Vietnamese woman devotes self to children living with HIV
Le Thi Thai Uyen spends time participating in various activities to help the unfortunate. Photo: Supplied

A single mother in Vietnam has dedicated her life to educating patients living with HIV and at-risk individuals, using her passion to pull her from the despair of a broken marriage.

Le Thi Thai Uyen, 30, has been working as a social worker specializing in helping children diagnosed with HIV for the past eight years in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, according to Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

Uyen first found her calling as a social worker when she was searching for something to fill the void in her life after a divorce just two years into her marriage that left her as a single mother to a five-month-old daughter.

“I was struggling with my own life until I started working with children and others living with HIV,” Uyen told Thanh Nien, explaining how she managed to retake the control of her life after losing her marriage.

“I am no longer sad. I know I am lucky because there are so many others who have it much worse than me."

The single mother is in a discussion circle with HIV-infected children. Photo: Supplied
The single mother sits with children in a discussion circle. Photo: Supplied

Uyen first began interacting with HIV patients when she was a child, when her mother would take her to Children’s Hospital 1 in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City to participate in volunteer work.

Now, as a seasoned social worker, Uyen heads to Nha Minh, literally “Our House," a clinic which provides medical support to HIV-infected people, every morning after dropping her 11-year-old daughter off at school.

In the evening, she looks for ways to reach out to people with a high risk of contracting HIV, including sex workers, in the hope of persuading them to get tested. At night, Uyen occupies herself with providing online consultations for those in need.

Uyen also holds panel discussions with at-risk people to offer them her knowledge and gain a better understanding of these people in order to provide better advice on minimizing the spread of the virus.

Helping HIV-infected children is Uyen’s main motivation in life. Photo: Supplied
Helping HIV-infected children is Uyen’s main motivation in life. Photo: Supplied

Other places she frequents include coffee shops, hair salons, and sports centers where she can approach infected and at-risk people, while also encouraging current patients to keep up with their treatment.

Not only does she work for Nha Minh Clinic, she also visits Children’s Hospital 2 in District 1 twice a week to provide consultation regarding children’s needs during puberty for parents of young patients living with HIV.

After Uyen gets to know a family, she does her best to provide the best consultation and explain the available options suitable for each family’s financial capacity.

Uyen is also grateful that she is able to share her profession and passion with her daughter.

Uyen is lucky enough to have a daughter who is understanding of her profession. Photo: Supplied
Uyen is lucky enough to have a daughter who understands her profession. Photo: Supplied

“I often take my daughter with me on charity trips to distribute gifts so that she understands how lucky we are,” Uyen shared.

Even though Uyen is still single, she is happy with the life she has chosen.

“To be honest, love is something a woman truly needs, but caring for my daughter is more important than my personal relationship,” the woman said.

“I will probably not be thinking about marriage any time soon, but if there is someone forgiving and honest enough for me and my daughter, maybe I will consider a relationship.”

Thai Uyen participates in many social events for HIV-infected people. Photo: Supplied
Thai Uyen participates in many social events for people living with HIV. Photo: Supplied

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