MAIWP Contributes To Treatment Scale-Up For Asnaf Beneficiaries Living With HIV

A total of 25 beneficiaries will receive one-year sponsorship of antiretroviral medicines from the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), amounting to RM210,000 for the Medicine Assistance Scheme under the Malaysian AIDS Foundation.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 – The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) has renewed its partnership with the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) on the Medicine Assistance Scheme.

Dr Yusri Mohamad of MAIWP presented a zakat (tithe) collection totalling RM 210,000 to Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, chairman of MAF, at a ceremony at the MAF headquarters here yesterday.

The contribution will benefit 25 asnaf or zakat recipients living with HIV in Kuala Lumpur.

The Medicine Assistance Scheme is a core initiative of MAF under its Treatment, Care and Support programme that provides subsidised second line antiretroviral (ARV) medicines to low-income Malaysians living with HIV.

The scheme is critically needed because there is currently no provision for second line ARV under the government-funded HIV treatment programme, resulting in very costly out-of-pocket expenses for those who need it.

On average, patients on second line ARV need to spend RM700 a month to procure these life-saving medicines.

“The HIV epidemic is, by and large, concentrated in Malay Muslim populations. As such, it is our duty to continue supporting MAF in efforts to promote the health and wellbeing of our community through HIV treatment. We hope our contribution will give the beneficiaries a new lease on life, enabling them to rebuild their lives, as well as their families and livelihoods and helping them overcome poverty,” said Dr Yusri.

“Our contribution is a continuation of the support that we first extended to MAF in 2020. It is part of our efforts to empower members of our community living with HIV who face many great challenges, especially stigma and discrimination that continue to affect their livelihoods,” he added.

”Data from the Ministry of Health shows that 42 per cent of people living with HIV in Malaysia are not on ARV treatment. This situation is of grave concern as it hampers the progress that we have made towards achieving our goal of ending AIDS goal by 2030,” said Prof Dr Adeeba, highlighting the biggest stumbling block in the national AIDS response.

”HIV science has given us highly effective tools to treat and control HIV infection. When taken consistently as prescribed, ARV is able to suppress viral replication in the body to an undetectable level and prevent sexual and mother-to-child transmissions of HIV. This is the basis of the concept of Undetectable = Untransmissible.

”It is therefore regrettable that structural barriers such as stigma and discrimination, poverty, and the prohibitive costs of second line ARV are negatively impacting access to lifesaving ARV treatment. We at MAF deeply appreciate MAIWP’s continuous commitment to the programme. We hope MAIWP’s support will serve as a catalyst for other Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia to play their role in the AIDS response,” she added.

In addition to subsidised ARV medicines, MAIWP beneficiaries will also receive Covid-19 hygiene packs.

Beneficiaries of the Medicine Assistance Scheme are referred by government hospitals, and must meet the selection criteria outlined by MAF. The scheme is fully endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Health.

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