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#4954: AIDS sufferer Awaits Death in Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Saturday August 26 2:22 PM ET AIDS Sufferer Awaits Death in Haiti 
By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Sonya Ismaelwants only to eat, drink and
die. The 20-year-old still remembers when men would stop in their tracks
to admire her pretty face and plump body. Now Sonya hides from the
world, wasting away in bed and trying not to contemplate the ruin of her
life.She is not alone. Not only is Haiti the hemisphere's poorest
country, but it also has the highest infection rate - 5 percent of
adults. Sonya tries not to think about Jean Pierre, the man responsible
for her disaster, who died two years ago of the AIDS that he passed on
to Sonya and their 2-year-old daughter, Angeline. She was 15 when she
moved in with him, and their violent union lasted three years, until his
death at age 40.``He was my first and only man. He ran around (with
other women) a lot, but he would beat me when I asked him to use a
condom,'' she says. ``I don't want to think about him.'' After he died,
the symptoms Sonya recognized from his disease began appearing on her
own body. Black blotches cover the insides of her arms, legs and belly
cruelly bloated with hunger. Her hair has thinned and turned yellow.
Every six hours or so, she has diarrhea. Even in the tropical heat, she
feels cold, hugging herself with spindly arms to try to warm up. Fatigue
weighs so heavily she often cannot stand. Her head spins, she says,
though that may be because there's been nothing to eat in her hovel for
three days. Angeline was sent to live with relatives in the countryside
when the food ran out. She wakes up late, after 9 a.m., makes her bed,
washes and then lies down again, exhausted. All day she stares at the
tin roof, then falls asleep again at 6 p.m. Occasionally she exchanges a
few words with the brother and sister who took her in and share the
other room of the shanty. But they don't touch anything she touches, and
never mention her condition to neighbors. ``I keep to myself, away from
people,'' Sonya says. ``Neighbors gossip. If they learned about my
 disease, the shame would kill