In my teens I was addicted to drugs. I think I got HIV from sharing needles. I found out I was HIV-infected during my pregnancy with Nong Kao, my third child. I didn’t pay much attention. I only knew from the media that this ailment was sure to end in death. I was, however, scared by the thought that my kid would get the infection from me.Nonetheless, it seems that the baby wanted to be born, and to live.
The doctor said I couldn’t breastfeed and that I had to be very strict about administering drops to the baby every four hours for two months. I paid strict attention to the doctor’s instructions. I didn’t want my baby to get infected on account of me.
During the time I was very sick, I received love and support from my mother and my daughter. My mother took care of me. Three of her children have died from HIV. I am the only one who survived. One of the staff at the hospital asked me, “Keng, don’t you want to live and spend your life with your lovely son?” Encouragement was important. If I hadn’t heard those words, I wouldn’t have thought about who would take care of my kids and family. I couldn’t die now.I recovered so fast. It took me only two months.
My son and I are very close. Little by little, I have explained to him about my illness. The big question for me now is, how can I live happily while having HIV in my body? If you can’t win over your own mind, you can’t win over HIV.
These days, I love watching movies and listening to music, when I come back home after work, sitting in front of the TV or computer, enjoying programs or games together. Our family routine is to watch movies—at least three—before going to bed. I cook meals for everyone. When I cook, I prepare massive quantities. I love to eat and want everyone to be well fed. When the kids have days off or holidays, we always go out for some fun. They take me to fish and to play in the nearby canal with them. I always go and sit in the sun waiting for them to catch fish. Once they catch one, we release it back. We don’t want to kill it. I love to be with all the kids. They make me so happy.