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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
'I brought Aids to my family'
Len Len
Little Len Len is free from HIV
Forty million people world-wide have HIV and it is spreading rapidly among the young.

By 2020, it is estimated that 68m will have died from Aids related illnesses.

The X1V International Aids conference which begins in Barcelona, on Sunday, will look at improving awareness of the disease and protection against it.

As a backdrop to the conference the Positive Lives photographs, by the Terrence Higgins Trust and Network Photographers will be displayed to highlight the human cost.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela will be using Positive Lives images to illustrate their speeches

BBC News Online chronicles the lives of one Filipino family whose lives have been touched by Aids.


Jack and Au live in a squatter camp in Santa Anna, near Manila's financial district, in the Philippines, with their daughter Len Len.

Au and Len Len
The family live in a squatter camp

Both Jack and Au are HIV positive and struggling to get the treatments they need to survive.

Jack, aged 33, owns a rickshaw, but he is too sick to ride it himself so he has to rent it out to a friend.

Au, 34, makes toy pigs which she then sells to the tourists.


We were having unprotected sex and I knew I was going to infect him but I couldn't find the strength to tell him

Au

Au, who has two children from a previous relationship, said she found it very hard to accept she had the disease as she thought only sex workers, and gay people were at risk.

Infected blood

But a blood transfusion nearly 10 years ago left her HIV positive as the blood was not screened.

"I was very sick. They operated on me and gave me six bags of blood.

Jack
Jack does carpentry to make ends meet

"For me, this was a disease of sex workers, homosexuals and seafarers.

"No one would believe that the only way I could have been infected was through the transfusion."

Au only found out she had the disease when she applied for a bar job and was forced to take the test to comply with city regulations.

Unprotected sex

Au was too embarrassed to tell her family and friends what was wrong with her and she kept the news from her new husband, Jack.

"I told Jack that he shouldn't love me, that there was something wrong with me but I couldn't say what.

Jack
The family cannot pay for the drugs they need

"Sometimes we would see people with Aids on television and Jack would say 'look at those people, they should be burnt.'

"We were having unprotected sex and I knew I was going to infect him but I couldn't find the strength to tell him."

Truth

Soon after their daughter Len Len was born she became very sick and needed to be taken to the HIV hospital, it was here that Au told Jack the terrible truth.

"Jack saw people who were very sick with the virus he didn't understand why we should have brought Len Len there.

"Then I told him....'I am also sick'.

Au and Jack
Au makes toy pigs to raise cash

"Once I said it , it was as if a huge burden had been lifted. I thought - now what happens is up to God. Jack can kill me or leave me but at least he knows."

Len Len does not have the virus, but Jack tested positive.

Last year the couple both became ill with a respiratory infection, but were told they were not a priority case and would have to buy their own drugs.

Jack and Len Len
Family and friends rally round

But the couple said that despite their problems they took faith from Christianity, their family and friends. People in the squatter camp all know of their status.

"Other people should know that even if you are positive you can still live a decent and honourable life," he said.


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