Khaing's Stigma Story
Aye Aye Khaing tells of her positive experiences when opening up to her family and friends about living with hepatitis B. She mentions that educating herself and those close to her about the condition has alleviated worries around transmission and her wellbeing.
Khaing has channelled this encouragement to become a community advocate and educator, and is recognised as a HEP Hero at Hepatitis Victoria.
Below is a transcript of her story:
My name is Aye Aye Khaing. So I’m from Myanmar. When I was first diagnosed with hepatitis B I visited the specialist together with my parents, so they were the first people who got to know about my condition. They kept loving me and having hepatitis B didn’t make me a different person.
At first I didn’t declare about my condition to other people because I’m also afraid that some people will treat me bad. But later I started thinking I will try to convince my condition to one of my best friends. After talking about my condition, our relationship stayed the same and it didn’t change, so I got encouraged and I spoke more to other friends and family members. In this way, I started talking about myself.
The reason why they don’t worry about getting infected is because one thing is I have to explain how it can be transmitted and how it cannot be transmitted. I also encouraged them to have a hepatitis B vaccination. The second thing is because they love me so they don’t care about it.
I can understand for some people who have bad experiences that regarding their hepatitis B. Maybe I will have more confidence than other people who have negative stigma, yes but, I don’t have 100% confidence. For example, I’m on the treatment right now and I don’t dare to take out my bottle in public and take the medicine.
Just encourage yourself. Not only encourage yourself, but we also need to educate other people, as well as to you.
Return to Stigma and Discrimination