Photo story: From heroin and HIV to a dream life

See how a young man who contracted HIV as a result of injecting heroin is thriving today. This is the first in a series of photo stories about people living with HIV.

I think my life has really changed. I started using heroin in 1999 and unknowingly contracted HIV.


When under compulsory rehabilitation at the Center for Social Education and Labor, I was transferred to Hospital 09. At that time, I was on the verge of death.

Man holding a plastic cup of methadone

Everyone thought I would hang on for only a few more days.  But a few years ago, I began receiving substitution treatment with methadone. Me becoming like I am today is all thanks to the care of hospital staff.

Young man talking to his counsellor

At the hospital, I have received great mental support from the counsellors. Only to them can I share stories that I would never tell anybody else, all my worries and pains, without being judged.

Man on a motorbike

Since then, my health has clearly improved, people trust me more. I usually help out with housework and I also work as a motorcycle taxi driver to increase my income. Besides, I also take the kids to school and take care of them. My family has also become closer.

My life now is like a dream. I wish for nothing more because I never thought I would be like today.

Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), a local Vietnamese NGO and a member of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, commissioned Hoang Hai Vuong to take these photo stories. The exhibition was also supported by Expertise France.

It was first shown at 09 Hospital (a hospital for people living with HIV in Hanoi),  and has also been shown at Hanoi Medical University as well as several universities and organisations.

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  • comment-avatar

    This is to amazing work and pictures Hoang.Example of what can happen when the right support is provided in a non judgmental way

  • comment-avatar

    I really like this piece on picture story. Kudos