THE VALUE OF FAMILY WHEN LIVING WITH HIV – PAL SCHEME

Faris (not his real name) is a 29-year-old single man who hails from Malacca and lives with his parents and siblings.

In 2016, Faris was confirmed as HIV positive and he felt that he no longer had the chance to go on living despite being on treatment as he suffered from many side effects from the prescribed medication. Thus, resulting in his performance at work beginning to deteriorate too. 

Faris discovered that the ongoing treatment program he was on was no compatible with him and he was in need to get second-line treatment. However, with his meagre monthly income as a technician at RM1,300, he could not afford to purchase the second-line medication.

With the salary he was earning, it was only enough for him yet, Faris also needed to support his two siblings who are still in school. There were many instances when he had to borrow money from his friends just to buy his medication.

Fortunately, one of his siblings learned about the medicine assistance scheme that is led by the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) and felt that it could help her brother. Faris immediately contacted the MAF Secretariat to get more information on the programme.
He immediately submitted his application as a beneficiary of PAL Scheme, a programme that sponsors second-line antiretroviral treatment for underprivileged People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). His application was approved in March 2018.

Prior to joining the programme, the level of his CD4 count was 265 and the virus load was 170993 c/ml. However, after enrolling in the PAL Scheme and starting his second- line treatment in December 2018, his health began to show improvements.

Faris not only became more productive at work, he even received an increment. With the continuous support from his family, Faris has ventured into a small online business.

He is truly grateful to get a second shot at life with help from the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and Yayasan Sime Darby – the main funder of the PAL programme – which has given hope to underprivileged People Living with HIV like him.