Thomas, an Aids patient in Guangzhou, has overcome discrimination to establish a home and a support group for other homeless Aids patients. Thomas, 35, who does not want to reveal his last name, established in September 2002 the first and only centre for Aids patients in Zengcheng county. The centre, called the 'Home of Love', which shares the same Cantonese pronunciation as 'Aids Home', was not well-received by its neighbours. Under pressure, the patients moved to a deserted construction site last October. But less than two months later, they were forced to move again. Eventually, Thomas and other patients settled in Panyu city near Guangzhou, although they have not told their landlord they are Aids patients. 'What's most dreadful about Aids is not death but the feeling of desperation and the isolation,' said Thomas, who discovered he was HIV-positive three years ago. 'The experience of being forced to move out is just the tip of the iceberg, reflecting [the problem] of public stigma and misunderstanding we face,' he said. Thomas, a former businessman, was devastated when he learned he had contracted the disease. His father, a physics professor, exhausted his savings to pay for his son's expensive treatments. They spent more than 7,000 yuan (HK$6,600) a month on drugs, excluding hospital and other medical fees. After his father died early last year, Thomas felt compelled to dedicate himself to helping others as a homage to his father's love 'He would be pleased with what I am doing now.' Thomas said he had also discovered the love in other people he had met in hospital - medical workers, other Aids patients and volunteers. When his health began to improve in 2001, Thomas started making plans. He visited a Guangzhou hospital which treated Aids patients and found that many had problems in finding accommodation. With the help of a non-governmental organisation in Beijing, Thomas' Home of Love now houses 12 people. 'Here, they can learn about the latest Aids developments and visit other patients in hospitals,' Thomas said. 'They know they are not just guests who are being served, they can also take care of others. 'I am just providing them with an opportunity so that they can lead a happy life and be accepted by society.' Members of Home of Love receive regular health check-ups and cocktail therapy - the most common treatment for Aids patients - is also available to those who need it. In March, Thomas established a networking office in Guangzhou with help from the UN Development Programme. It publishes a monthly newsletter and runs a website where Aids patients can share their thoughts. Thomas said the centre embodied a message - people with Aids are not alone. A member of Home of Love is working in Henan - the province hardest hit by Aids on the mainland - to help victims who contracted HIV through illegal blood sales. In retrospect, Thomas said the disease that took him to the edge of death had given him a new life. 'Before, I thought about making as much money as possible,' he said. 'But now, living a meaningful life is more important to me.'