KUALA LUMPUR: Although social discrimination against AIDS is difficult to change, efforts by large organisations can help eliminate stigmatisation facing the HIV-positive, said Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) chairman Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.
After 20 years of this AIDS epidemic most people are still ignorant, and you'd be surprised how little they know, she said at a cheque-giving ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel here yesterday.
Dr Adeeba received a RM42,656 donation from the Hope Campaign launched in four Renaissance hotels last October.
The funds were raised through sales of MAF merchandise and collections in donation boxes.
The funds will be channelled to the Circle of Hope Funds that finances the Paediatric AIDS Scheme, the People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) Drug Assistance Scheme and PLWHA Business Assistance Scheme.
Under the PLWHA Business Assistance Scheme, people living with AIDS will be given RM1,000 to start a small business as a way to support themselves.
We have the financial support for our programme, however what is also important is the awareness that is generated through this fund-raising programme organised by Renaissance Hotels and Resorts in Malaysia, she stressed.
To generate a keener awareness in society of the AIDS epidemic, Dr Adeeba said two things had to be addressed to ensure success.
The first is to generate general awareness via the print media and TV.
The second is to identify high-risk groups like those in the sex industry. We have to identify the groups to use different messages to communicate effectively with them, she said
Also present at the ceremony were general managers Robert Frager of Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Phillip Chee of Renaissance Kota Baru, George Varughese of Renaissance Malacca, Boyd Barker of Miri Marriott & Spa and Rajkumar Balamanickam of MAF.