This Malaysian NGO Is Providing Free PrEP Starter Kits For Tertiary Students & B40 Persons
Reducing the stigma of HIV and encouraging the importance to prioritise one's health.
Non-profit organisation PT Foundation is providing free PrEP starter kits to tertiary education students and B40 individuals this January and February
Pink Triangle Foundation (or more popularly referred to as PT Foundation) has been the leading community-based organisation providing HIV and AIDS education, prevention, care, and support programmes in Malaysia.
Founded in 1987 and acting as one of the seven founding members of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), PT Foundation has been able to provide aid for over 100,000 people since their inception.
Embarking on new initiatives every now and then, their latest effort is repping a cause that's starting important conversations and breaking negative stigmas, known as "PrEP For The Underprivileged".
Through a partnership with Community Health Care Clinic (CHCC), which also happens to be a programme initiated by PT Foundation themselves, and event company DBE Malaysia, PrEP For The Underprivileged will provide free PrEP starter kits for tertiary students aged 18 and above and members of the B40 community.
Originally conducted in December 2022, this represents the second installation of the project.
PrEP, otherwise known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, is medication used to prevent the spread of HIV in people who have not yet been exposed to the disease-causing agent
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PrEP is one of a number of HIV prevention strategies for people who are HIV negative, but who have a higher risk of acquiring HIV.
This includes (but is not limited to) sexually active adults who are at an increased risk of contracting HIV and people who engage in intravenous drug use, which encompasses sharing needles.
Further information has shown that, when used as directed, PrEP reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by up to 99%.
According to the post by PT Foundation, the application deadline for the starter kit is 15 January, with the redemption period for the item being between 24 January to 24 February
All eligible individuals need to do is send a direct message (DM) to the PT Foundation Instagram page, @ptfmalaysia, or send an email to the address [email protected] to apply for a kit.
The items that will be included in the PrEP starter kit comprise of:
1. HIV and Syphilis rapid test.
2. Hepatitis B lab test.
3. Urine full examination microscopy examination (FEME).
4. Doctor consultation.
5. Baseline blood screening (which provide results for full blood count, glucose level, cholesterol level, kidney function, and liver function).
6. One month supply of PrEP (which include Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate, otherwise known as Tenofovir DF, and Emtricitabine).
In a brief conversation with SAYS, the clinic manager of CHCC, Ramesh Vadiveloo, emphasised on the importance of HIV testing and PrEP for those aged 18 to 29
Citing The Global AIDS Monitoring Report for 2022 by HIV/STI/Hepatitis C Section of the Malaysian Ministry of Health, Ramesh noted that in 2021, 45% of the reported HIV cases in Malaysia are from individuals aged 20 to 29, almost half of the overall distribution amount.
Beyond that, Ramesh also stated that CHCC actively raises funds on a monthly basis to provide free 4th Generation HIV testing. The test picks up 99% of infections at six weeks, one of the most efficient testing systems for HIV detection.
"[CHCC] also organises fundraisers every two months, and we've been successfully raising sufficient funds to provide 20 PrEP starter kits for individuals," he said in a conversation with this SAYS writer.
Through encouraging individuals to prioritise their health while reducing the stigma of HIV and AIDS, PT Foundation is taking a monumental step in shaping the way we view HIV in Malaysia
Last month, the Ministry of Health announced that they will be providing HIV prevention drugs for free this year:
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