Commit to RM 20 monthly donation to MAF
What is #EndingAIDS?
The Ending AIDS Campaign is a rallying call to every Malaysian to make positive changes in the society. We need to do the best that we can to stop the HIV and AIDS epidemic and preserve the dignity and uphold the rights of People Living with HIV. The Ending AIDS encourages the Malaysian public to make a contribution of just RM 20 per month because we believe that even the smallest donation will make a big impact if we pool our resources together.
Ending AIDS is actually spearheaded by the Malaysian AIDS Foundation to establish a more rooted relationship with donors in raising awareness and fundraise in the advocacy and efforts of ending aids.
Ending AIDS Campaign Support
People Living with HIV in Malaysia
The Malaysian AIDS Foundation is launching this fundraising campaign to support more than 75,040 People Living with HIV in Malaysia – many of whom are from underprivileged backgrounds with limited access to basic health care and suffer stigma and discrimination attached to HIV & AIDS – in the workplace, public services and even education sector.
Grants are channelled through MAF’s special TCS schemes that help to alleviate socio-economic and other negative impact of HIV. These include the Paediatric AIDS Fund that is devoted to helping poor children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS – from newborn until 12 years old –with a small monthly allowance to meet their daily needs so that they are not deprived of a normal childhood; PAL Scheme that provides medicine assistance for underprivileged adults living with HIV; and Shelter Homes for children, women and men living with HIV who are bereft of family care.
PLHIV are particularly vulnerable to poverty and face insurmountable challenges due to stigma and discrimination. Women, who became infected from their spouses, face real threats of abandonment, rejection and isolation from their family and community. Not to mention those who lost their jobs, or orphans who were abandoned by their extended family due to the association with HIV/AIDS.
While MAF is committed to push for permanent changes in policy and practices that can result in positive impact on the lives of People Living with HIV, we also actively encourage them to take up solid action to improve their life skills and provide opportunities for them to start small businesses. One such programme is the MyLady Assistance Scheme in aid of women and single mothers living with or affected by HIV. We use proceeds from our fundraisers to set up a grant for them to start up small-scale businesses and develop their vocational skills. In addition, we assist them to get job referrals through peer support and link them with potential employers for on-the-job training.
Discrimination at the workplace is still a contentious issue even until today. PLHIV continue to lose their jobs due to their status. Many employers are still resistant to the idea of hiring PLHIV and hold on to the notion that PLHIV are unproductive.
We channel funds to support advocacy efforts that promote the creation of an enabling environment for employees and professionals living with HIV to thrive and succeed. Working towards meeting this goal, MAF has initiated a set of policies and guidelines to normalise HIV/AIDS at the workplace – through our Malaysian Business Consortium on HIV/AIDS (MBCH) – and joint workplace policy development with the Ministry of Human Resources.
An integral part of the Ending AIDS Campaign is a survey about HIV and AIDS that we carry out through our donation portal. Results from this survey will give a clear picture about the level of HIV/AIDS awareness among the Malaysian public and help us to design a better HIV/AIDS education campaign in the future.
DID YOU KNOW
Although the number of children living with HIV is small, there is no denying of the huge challenges that they face. More 500 children and young adults currently received various forms of supports from MAF – from shelter homes to monthly allowance for education. Social pressure also forced many PLHIV to stay in the shadow, afraid to come out even to seek treatment due to shame associated with the disease. It was estimated that from 30,000 PLHIV that require treatment, only 40% has done so.
PLHIV On Treatment
“I know there’s only so much I can do but I keep trying because like any mother, I want the best for my children.”
PICKING UP THE PIECES
For Rashidah Husin, another HIV positive mum, life has taken a turn for the worse after her diagnosis. The 44-year-old mother of two boys, aged nine and six, not only has to grapple with the challenges of being a single parent but also in dealing with her older son who is also HIV positive. She came to know about her status when she was tested while pregnant with her younger son.
Once tests confirmed she was HIV positive, she was immediately put on antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmission to her unborn child. Her now six-year-old son was born free of the virus. Her husband and older son were also tested. Unfortunately, both were diagnosed as HIV positive. “My marriage broke down after that. It was already a problematic relationship to begin with and the diagnosis made it worse. We blamed each other. Things just went downhill after that and we separated.”
Today, she lives in a low-cost flat and works two jobs just to earn RM600 a month so she can support her boys. Being poor and HIV positive is a double blow for the family. Her husband provides no support and the family has not heard from him since he left home in 2014. “I have to take medication daily and also make sure my son does the same. He’s just a child. Every day I think about what I could have done differently to prevent him from being like me. It’s heartbreaking as a mum to know I passed this to him.”
Her son is a smart, active boy who’s always top of his class. Rashidah says he’s still unaware of his condition. Doctors have advised her to explain it to him as he grows older. She adds that her children remain her priority no matter how challenging and stressful life gets. She admits there are days when she feels like giving up because putting food on the table and struggling to make ends meet is so overwhelming but she perseveres for the sake of her sons. She works in a restaurant in the morning and does house cleaning in the later part of the day to bring home additional income.
She receives life-saving HIV medication for free but her life is a routine of hospital visits, work and chores at home. She has no family support and often relies on kind-hearted neighbours or friends to help her out when things get tough.
There are days when she’s too tired to do anything and days when feelings of fear and anxiety are overwhelming. Her two boys are very protective of their mum and are her source of comfort when things seem bleak. Rashidah says it pains her that they sometimes go hungry because there’s not enough food in the house. “I know there’s only so much I can do but I keep trying because like any mother, I want the best for my children.”