Una estatua negra de Buda reina en el centro del templo donde descansan los restos empaquetados de todos los pacientes que murieron en el monasterio.@A black statue of Buddha reigns in the middle of the temple where all the remains of the patients that passed away in the monastery are stocked.@A black statue of Buddha reigns in the middle of the temple where all the remains of the patients that passed away in the monastery are stocked.
A black statue of Buddha reigns in the middle of the temple where all the remains of the patients that passed away in the monastery are stocked.
La única zona aislada en todo el edificio es un pequeño dormitorio habilitado para enfermos de tuberculosis, situado al fondo de la nave central.@The only isolated area in the whole building is a small dorm settled for tuberculosis patients, at the end of the main room.@The only isolated area in the whole building is a small dorm settled for tuberculosis patients, at the end of the main room.
The only isolated area in the whole building is a small dorm settled for tuberculosis patients, at the end of the main room.
Maprod llegó al templo con su madre cuando apenas tenía un año de edad. Su madre estaba infectada, pero el nació sano.@Maprod came to the temple with her mother seven months ago. Her mother got AIDS, but he was born healthy.@Maprod came to the temple with her mother seven months ago. Her mother got AIDS, but he was born healthy.
Maprod came to the temple with her mother seven months ago. Her mother got AIDS, but he was born healthy.
Worrakit solía consumir drogas por vía venérea y practicar sexo sin protección. La enfermedad le ha debilitado hasta el punto de causarle ceguera. Llegó al monasterio en 2012 sin ningún otro lugar a donde ir.@Worrakit used to inject drugs and had unprotected sex. The disease has weakened him to the point of became blind. He came to the monastery three years ago because he had nowhere to go.@Worrakit used to inject drugs and had unprotected sex. The disease has weakened him to the point of became blind. He came to the monastery three years ago because he had nowhere to go.
Worrakit used to inject drugs and had unprotected sex. The disease has weakened him to the point of became blind. He came to the monastery three years ago because he had nowhere to go.
Un paciente del monasterio Phra Baht Nam Phu espera a ser atendido por los enfermeros que se ocupan de él.@A patient on Phra Baht Nam Phu Monastery awaits the nurses who take care of him.@A patient on Phra Baht Nam Phu Monastery awaits the nurses who take care of him.
A patient on Phra Baht Nam Phu Monastery awaits the nurses who take care of him.
Kraison se infectó de sida en 2005 al mantener relaciones sexuales con una prostituta sin usar protección. Al infectarse con el virus sufrió hiperglucémia y perdió sus dos piernas.@Kraison became infected 10 years ago after having sex with a prostitute without protection. He lost his legs after suffering hyperglycemia when infected by HIV.@Kraison became infected 10 years ago after having sex with a prostitute without protection. He lost his legs after suffering hyperglycemia when infected by HIV.
Kraison became infected 10 years ago after having sex with a prostitute without protection. He lost his legs after suffering hyperglycemia when infected by HIV.
Rachen consumía heroína. Fue expulsado de su barrio cuando los vecinos supieron que estaba infectado.@Rachen used to inject heroin. He was fired from his neighborhood when his neighbors realized that he was infected.@Rachen used to inject heroin. He was fired from his neighborhood when his neighbors realized that he was infected.
Rachen used to inject heroin. He was fired from his neighborhood when his neighbors realized that he was infected.
Un paciente trata de descansar en su cama situada en el centro del dormitorio principal.@A patient tries to get some rest at his bed in the middle of the main room.@A patient tries to get some rest at his bed in the middle of the main room.
A patient tries to get some rest at his bed in the middle of the main room.
Pon accedió al monasterio en 2008 tras un control rutinario donde descubrió que era portador del virus. Abandonó a su familia sin decir ni una palabra para no perjudicarlos.@Pon joined the monastery seven years ago, after a routine check revealed that he had HIV. Since then he quit his family without saying a word to don't disturb them. Now he kills time on his bed drawing portraits of the founder of this center.@Pon joined the monastery seven years ago, after a routine check revealed that he had HIV. Since then he quit his family without saying a word to don't disturb them. Now he kills time on his bed drawing portraits of the founder of this center.
Pon joined the monastery seven years ago, after a routine check revealed that he had HIV. Since then he quit his family without saying a word to don't disturb them. Now he kills time on his bed drawing portraits of the founder of this center.
A Aman el VIH le afectó al cerebro y quedó sordo hace más de cinco años.@Aman, HIV affected his brain and he became deaf 5 years ago.@Aman, HIV affected his brain and he became deaf 5 years ago.
Aman, HIV affected his brain and he became deaf 5 years ago.
Algunos pacientes están tan débiles que ni tan siquiera pueden caminar. Deben esperar a los enfermeros para poder abandonar sus camas aunque solo sea por unas horas.@Some of the patients are so weak that can not even walk. They must wait for helpers to get rid of their bed prisons daily.@Some of the patients are so weak that can not even walk. They must wait for helpers to get rid of their bed prisons daily.
Some of the patients are so weak that can not even walk. They must wait for helpers to get rid of their bed prisons daily.
Todos los enfermos críticos comparten el misma dormitorio; una sala grande a rebosar de camas de hospital ocupadas por los internos y sus pertenencias.@All the critical patients must share the same dorm, a large room loaded with hospital beds shared by the inmates and all their personal belongings.@All the critical patients must share the same dorm, a large room loaded with hospital beds shared by the inmates and all their personal belongings.
All the critical patients must share the same dorm, a large room loaded with hospital beds shared by the inmates and all their personal belongings.
Kitti está tan debilitado por la enfermedad que tiene que usar pañales. Se infectó al mantener relaciones sexuales con su esposa. Fue internado en el templo tras la muerte de su mujer. Ahora ninguno de sus parientes se ocupa de él.@Kitti is so weakened by the disease that he must wear diapers. He became infected after having sex with his wife. He reached the temple three years ago, after the death of his wife. None of his relatives is taking care of him.@Kitti is so weakened by the disease that he must wear diapers. He became infected after having sex with his wife. He reached the temple three years ago, after the death of his wife. None of his relatives is taking care of him.
Kitti is so weakened by the disease that he must wear diapers. He became infected after having sex with his wife. He reached the temple three years ago, after the death of his wife. None of his relatives is taking care of him.
Un paciente tratando de salir al exterior del edificio por si mismo.@A patient tries to get outside of the building by himself.@A patient tries to get outside of the building by himself.
A patient tries to get outside of the building by himself.
En un templo situado en el interior del complejo, algunas momias de pacientes infectados por el virus son exhibidas para mostrar a los visitantes como esta enfermedad afecta al cuerpo humano.@On a temple inside the complex, some mummies of infected HIV patients that passed away are shown to explain the visitors how the sickness affect the human body.@On a temple inside the complex, some mummies of infected HIV patients that passed away are shown to explain the visitors how the sickness affect the human body.
On a temple inside the complex, some mummies of infected HIV patients that passed away are shown to explain the visitors how the sickness affect the human body.
Los cuerpos de los fallecidos son incinerados y sus restos se acumulan todos juntos en sacos individuales tras la estatua de Buda.@After death, the bodies of the patients are incinerated and the remains are stocked all together in individual sachets behind the Buddha statue.@After death, the bodies of the patients are incinerated and the remains are stocked all together in individual sachets behind the Buddha statue.
After death, the bodies of the patients are incinerated and the remains are stocked all together in individual sachets behind the Buddha statue.
Los pacientes tienen el derecho a decidir si, una vez muertos, desean que sus cuerpos sean momificados y exhibidos en el museo del complejo para mostrar como el virus del VIH afecta a la humanidad.@The patients have the right to decide if, after death, they want their bodies being mummified to be shown at the museum, to explain the world how HIV affects humankind.@The patients have the right to decide if, after death, they want their bodies being mummified to be shown at the museum, to explain the world how HIV affects humankind.
The patients have the right to decide if, after death, they want their bodies being mummified to be shown at the museum, to explain the world how HIV affects humankind.
The Monastery of AIDS

 

 

 

A Buddhist temple in Thailand serves thousands of HIV patients abandoned by their families. The Phra Bat Nam Pu monastery, located in Lopburi province, today takes care of more than 1,500 men, women, children and orphans. Over 10.000 patients have perished at these facilities since they began helping infected people in 1983.

 

 

In Thailand 440,000 people out of a population of 67 million live with HIV, according to the latest UNAIDS report on the state of the epidemic in the world; and there are many carriers of this virus who fear getting tested to see if they are infected due to society’s stigmatization towards the sick ones.

 

 

Most families that lead their beloved ones never return to the monastery over to visit them, even after death. New patients have to mark, at their arrival, in a form what to do with their bodies when they die because families normally don’t come to pick them up. Among the options in the form, they can chose to be mummified for display in a room a few meters from the clinic. This decision was taken by the victims themselves in life to raise awareness about HIV lethality.

 

 

Behind the altar of a Buddha statue, there are sachets containing the ashes of patients who failed to beat the disease.

 

Text by Ana Salvá

Date : 2015
Place : Lopburi, Thailand.
   
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