Advertisement

On 30th anniversary, Malaysian AIDS Foundation raises RM1.8m at Red Ribbon Gala for HIV treatment efforts

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) has raised RM1.8 million fund at its Red Ribbon Gala 2023 yesterday to continue its effort in eradicating HIV/AIDS in Malaysia.

The gala was in conjunction with MAF's 30th anniversary and World AIDS Day.

Last year, it raised 2.55 million for its ongoing HIV treatment initiatives nationwide.

The black-tie event which was held at Sunway Resort Hotel was attended by over 200 guests including royalties, government officials, public and corporate figures, celebrities and notable personalities.

Among the attendees were Raja Muda of Selangor Tengku Amir Shah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Sir Jeffrey Cheah, MAF chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and MAF patron Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

Proceeds from the gala will be channelled to support MAF’s ongoing programmes to provide access to treatment for low-income and marginalised people living with HIV (PLHIV).

MAF chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman talks about the need to establish legal framework to safeguard people living with HIV. —  Picture by Shafwan Zaidon 
MAF chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman talks about the need to establish legal framework to safeguard people living with HIV. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

MAF chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman talks about the need to establish legal framework to safeguard people living with HIV. —  Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

In her speech, Dr Adeeba said there is an urgent need to establish a legal and policy framework dedicated to safeguarding the human rights of key populations.

“Human rights and HIV are closely intertwined.

“A lack of respect for human rights fuels the spread and worsens the impact of the disease.”

Dr Adeeba said punitive approaches towards them only fuel stigma and hatred against these populations, pushing them further into hiding and away from services to prevent, treat and mitigate the impact of HIV.

“As the chair of the Drug Policy Reform Programme, I strongly advocate for a more compassionate approach to key populations, starting with decriminalising drug use.

“Instead of forced institutional rehabilitation, evidence-based treatment options in the community should be implemented.”

In 2021, Sunway Group began a long-term collaboration with MAF as the new official sustainability partner to join efforts in eradicating HIV/AIDS in Malaysia.

The programme saw the establishment of the Teratak Kasih Tok Nan hallway home in Kuching and the Health Outreach Programme for Everyone in Sabah.

The MAF gala dinner saw a memoriam session dedicated to Edwards. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon 
The MAF gala dinner saw a memoriam session dedicated to Edwards. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

The MAF gala dinner saw a memoriam session dedicated to Edwards. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

The gala also saw a memoriam session for the late Malay Mail editor and HIV advocate Audrey Edwards.

Edwards was best known for her HIV/AIDS work, covering issues that ranged from infections among Orang Asli in Johor to, more recently, home-based sex work and the Malaysian-Thai border harm reduction programme.

In 2018, she received the Special Red Ribbon Media Award for her long-standing contribution to HIV/AIDS journalism at the Red Ribbon Media Awards that year.

Edwards died in September at 48.