NGO hands out free HIV medication to students and low income individuals in Malaysia

Alim Yakubov/Shutterstock
Alim Yakubov/Shutterstock

The stigma of HIV is still very much alive in Malaysia and  is still recognized as a serious public health issue. 

Community-based non-profit organizations like Pink Triangle Foundation (PT Foundation) are doing its best to reduce the stigma by providing AIDS education and encouraging better and accessible healthcare since it started operations in 1987. 

Its latest initiative, the PT Foundation is providing kits with medication to tertiary students aged 18 and above and the B40 (low-income) community. 

What is PrEP and who can get these kits?

The medication called PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is used to control the spread of HIV among those that have not yet been infected by the disease-causing agent. PrEP is more than 99% effective if taken properly.

Although PrEP is not a vaccine, it is a way for people who do not have HIV to prevent themselves from becoming infected by taking a protective pill every day.

The “PrEP for the Underprivileged” programme aims to drive important conversations and break down negative stigmas surrounding the issue. 

Tertiary education students and B40 individuals in Malaysia will be able to obtain PrEP starter kits for free in January and February.

PT Foundation executed this project with the help of the Community Health Care Clinic (CHCC), which was a programme it initiated, and the event company DBE Malaysia. The programme is now in its second installation after being first conducted in December 2022.  

Effectiveness and education

The clinic manager of CHCC, Ramesh Vadiveloo told Coconuts research has proven that Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%.

He said in 2021, 45% of reported HIV cases are from the age group of 20 to 29.

“Due to the effectiveness of PrEP, and high-risk age group, we choose to provide the sponsored PrEP Starter Kit to tertiary students (above the age of 18). Besides tertiary students, we also provide PrEP Starter Kit to B40 individuals.”

When asked why PT was targeting underprivileged individuals, he said: “Because when we first launched the program, PrEP was not made available for free at government clinics. The tests (HIV, Syphilis, Hep B etc) required to start PrEP can be costly (RM 200 or more). Therefore, PT Foundation decided to help the underprivileged with the initial cost of starting PrEP.” 

The application deadline for the starter kit is Jan. 15, with the redemption period between Jan. 24 to Feb. 24. 

Individuals can apply via DM on the PT Foundation Instagram account, or send an email to the to apply for a kit.

PT Foundation is one of the seven founding members of the Malaysian AIDS Council’s (MAC) and has lent a helping hand to over 100,000 people with its the original initiatives they have organized. 



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