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According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Health for the year 1986 to June 2002, the total number of HIV cases detected in Malaysia was 47,634. Melaka reported 1,469 cases (up to 2001). There are 16 cases reported HIV/AIDS a day.

AIDS is a serious disease because it has no cure and no vaccine and leads to death. Secondly, it causes pre-mature death of young people in their most productive and reproductive age thereby severely affecting the socio-economic structure of families, communities and country. Thirdly, AIDS involves serious legal, ethical, social and economical issues like marriage, pre-marital sex, deprivation, ostracization, employment, etc.

Caring for those infected and affected by the disease is also a major part of Melaka FPA’s effort in forming an AIDS Support Group pioneered by the Women’s Development Sub-Committee. The formation of the AIDS Support Group, first to be formed by an NGO in the state, to assist HIV positive persons to take care of themselves is encouraged by the Association. The objectives for this project are:
  1. to show care, support and treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.
  2. to enhance their understanding and to provide easy access to information on HIV/AIDS.
  3. to raise awareness and to mobilize community involvement in the fight against disease.
  4. to challenge the stereotypes and eradicate the discrimination that is going around.
  5. to raise awareness to everyone that HIV positive persons can now live longer and have better quality of life.
  6. to establish networking and collaboration with GOs and NGOs.
Through this project activities such as seminar, counselling, dialogue sessions, training, sensitization workshop will be carried out. Besides that, treatment and vitamin supplements will also be provided for PLWHAs who cannot afford it. This project is expected to start in September 2003 and will be an on-going project.

Many PLWHA suffer from discrimination and with hopefully with the help of the Support Group and a lot of advocacy will help to destigmatize the issue. Although the stigma will never go away completely but it will become manageable.

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