Household Helper Turned Sex Worker Gets HIV

By changing job, perhaps she only wanted to earn more, but she got more than what she wanted.

An Indonesian woman who left her work as a domestic worker to become a sex worker in Hong Kong sobbed alone in her bed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. That’s because her friends have apparently abandoned her after she was diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hong Kong News reported.

Mawar (not her real name), came to Hong Kong in 2010 as a domestic worker. But after her employer terminated her employment, Mawar overstayed in 2015. She thenm she applied as a torture claimant and sought asylum so that she could continue to stay in the city.

Together with her friends, who were also former domestic workers, she decided to become a sex worker in Wan Chai, a well-known red-light district in Hong Kong. To save living costs, Mawar and her friends rented a flat as they go about their flesh trade and send their earnings to families back home.

Their daily routine was suddenly rocked when on December 28, 2018, Mawar collapsed inside the flat that she shared with friends.

She was promptly admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital, where the doctor said she had pneumonia. At first, Mawar thought there was nothing to worry about since it is winter and she and her friends had to work in the bars of Wan Chai until dawn.

But after two weeks, her ailment did not go away. Mawar said she began to fear that something was terribly wrong. That was also the time she learned that her German boyfriend died recently due to complications from AIDS.

“Am I (infected) too?,” Mawar asked.

She got confirmation only this mid-January when the doctor told her she was positive for AIDS. Mawar, who originally lived sparkling with sexy clothes and high heels, is now emaciated and frail, and looks like she had been sick for a long time. She has to take a daily dosage of nine pills, plus various medical procedures such as extraction of fluid from her spine. Several times, she had to be brought to the isolation room because her body’s resistance to diseases had gone down to dangerous levels.

But Mawar said being abandoned by her friends as she struggles with HIV/AIDS was the thing that caused her the most pain. Her so-called friends suddenly disappeared, without daring to visit her anymore. Mawar is now like a stranger in the eyes of those she treated as her sisters.

Mawar admitted that she becomes hysterical sometimes and tried to pull out the IV needle in her hand. Her condition has worsened and she has since been transferred to another hospital. Her family has been informed of her situation and will soon come to see to say goodbye.

“Pray that I am sane, ma’am. Pray,” Mawar, resigned to her fate, said in between sobs.