KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Some 1,000 people have signed up for Malaysian AIDS Foundation's (MAF) 100,000 Steps to End AIDS virtual walk event starting today.
It will run until December 31.
Aimed at raising funds for the underprivileged people living with HIV (PLHIV), the event is supported by the Selangor Health Department and Health Ministry.
“We are truly grateful and proud to have a government body on board to initiate our first virtual event, especially during this extraordinary time as we continue to struggle with the consequences of Covid-19 globally,” the foundation said in a statement today, adding that the event would boost MAF's effort in getting treatment and care for the PLHIV community.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the event was the ministry's way of raising funds for People Living with HIV, especially those deeply impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, to ensure that they receive continuous access to much-needed treatment, care and support services.
“This event is also an opportunity to re-educate the public on HIV and AIDS awareness and most importantly, to destigmatise the notion of being HIV positive in conjunction with the World AIDS Day 2020 theme of ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility’,” he added.
Foundation chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said the event was important due to funding issues and rising numbers of HIV transmissions.
“We need to step up our prevention services and ensure equal access to treatment for everyone. Hence, with the funds received through this charity walk, we will be able to expand our life-saving efforts and reach out to more People Living with HIV to have access to treatment,” she said.
Yayasan Sime Darby chief executive officer Yatela Zainal Abidin said the initiative provides a platform for the participants to not only maintain a healthy lifestyle but also to directly advocate for the HIV cause through social media.
“Advocacy is a powerful tool to assist people living with HIV because oftentimes, stigmatisation in their communities have deprived them of their right to safely seek treatment and lead a healthy life.
“I am extremely proud that the foundation is persevering to sustain and expand MAF’s medication assistance and MAC’s (Malaysian AIDS Council) advocacy work to improve the lives of the HIV community,” she said.
Yayasan Sime Darby has been supporting the foundation and MAC since 2013.
The foundation also credits MSNS Exercise Clinic and Karex Berhad where they agreed to become Signature Partners.
MSNS Exercise Clinic's founder Datuk Seri Jessy Lai said the partnership allows them to give back to the community especially these difficult times.
“I also believe that through this programme, we can create more awareness for HIV and AIDS and the significant contribution needed from the community to achieve what was thought to be impossible a few decades ago — which is ending AIDS,” said Lai.
Karex Berhad's chief executive officer Goh Miah Kiat said the company had always step up to the foundation's fundraising and awareness campaigns.
“We are very happy to once again collaborate with MAF and excited as this is also our first collaboration in a virtual event,” said Goh.