Everyday, more than 10 Malaysians are tested HIV positive.

In Philippines, local responses to HIV/AIDS epidemic boosted by UN-backed plan:

"The United Nations is helping the Philippines tackle the mounting number of new HIV cases by putting local governments in the vanguard of the battle, mobilizing more than 1,000 officials and over 250 activists so far across 17 regions in the South-East Asian country."


Everyday, more than 10 Malaysians are tested HIV positive. While according to the Malaysian government, the epidemic is largely dominated by injecting drug users, this is mainly because of the mandatory HIV test forced on drug users while the rest of the population goes almost undetected. My concern is on the heterosexual transmission as in 2008, 27% of new reported cases were attributed to heterosexual unsafe sex. In 2004, it was 20%.  


Number of HIV Infection 1986-2008


I'm deeply concern about the prevention, intervention and support services for refugees and migrant workers in Malaysia. As it is, this community is not well-represented in the HIV/AIDS circles, and I suspect its because they are foreigners that less focus and funding are allocated for intervention programmes for them. 


Would the government conduct a national evaluation of the effectiveness of services and project-funding of NGOs? What about NGOs? Will they produce a shadow report of the situation in this country to be advocated and submitted to the government and United Nations? What about embarking on an evaluation exercise of the UN's role in Malaysia?  


You won't find much info in http://www.infosihat.gov.my/penyakit/Dewasa/HIV_AIDS.php that would empower people living and affected with HIV/AIDS; interestingly enough at the time of drafting this note that the government's AIDS/STD  Section http://dph.gov.my/aids was not functioning. 


Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against most-at-risk population (MARP), refugees and vulnerable out-of-school young people are common. To my knowledge there are no youth-friendly programmes for harm reduction (drugs) for young people using designer drugs that enables young people to run the activities, as NGOs (ignorant amateurs) see no connection to and between young people using these drugs, 'chemsex' and HIV transmission unlike sharing of infected needles. This discrimination and prejudice towards injecting users is disgusting and offensive. 


The fact is many NGOs in Malaysia are unhappy with the Malaysian AIDS Council, due to internal strife, ego-inflamed "activists", monstrous NGO bureaucracy, funding allocation and their lack of courage (no balls) to advocate their issues to MAC. While MAC is no perfect angel, it is supposed to represent its 40+ partner organisations and advocate their issues to the government. But what do you expect from a bourgeois-based, yuppie secretariat that claims to understand community issues? Its also interesting that MAC offers a higher wage system compared to what NGO employees are earning. 




By the way, what are the community issues anyway? 


Similar to many countries in South East Asia, NGOs are busy fighting among themselves, primarily for funding allocation (presently courtesy of the Global Fund which pumps in millions), and the opportunity to participate in international conferences (more like sponsored vacation to many) under the pretext of representing their country. The effort to request for project funding has been entangled by red tape, similar to how businesses would apply for tender to a government project. Sounds like NGOs are merely acting as contractors for the client which is the government. 


I've worked on street-based HIV/AIDS and harm reduction programmes since 1996, collaborating with MARP in the effort to enable community participation and representation. Sadly when we talk about the indicators of success of NGOs or individuals, we have failed miserably. Why? Simply because in Malaysia, more than 10 people are tested HIV positive every day. 
   

Popular posts from this blog

An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists