admin on April 11th, 2020

Anita was a beautiful woman, alone in her young age, she was left like a wave of the sea, tossed to and fro by people who cared little for her. It was a miracle of grace that many of you, dear friends in Malaysia and Indonesia would impose yourself into her life, to rescue her from something that she could never escape. She was one lost soul among many, with no hope of ever being rescued. In mercy each of you wanted to do for her what she could not do for herself. You heard her cry and helped her. Yes, it’s sad news that Anita and her baby Hope is gone but it is that everyone will not experience her victory.

I am writing this, an obituary to Anita and her baby, Hope. It is a testimony. In many ways Anita lived a tragic life. She was born in poverty, in a small Kampong in Kalimantan, Indonesia and not able to go to school. When she was 9 years, she came to work across the border, in Serian, Sarawak Malaysia but was physically abused by her employers. Couldn’t withstand the constant physical abuse in her small fragile body she ran away but was caught up by the employment agents where she endured more beating till she had bad back injuries that caused her much pains in later years.

Looking for love, in May 2012 at 23 years old she married her husband. He died 1 year later, which did not make Anita’s life any better. All she ever wanted was to be loved and protected by someone, but the man she chose to give her what she desired is gone. Anita began to live a life of a single mother and was forcibly chased out of the house, she and her baby by the late husband first wife. She was stabbed on her back with a sharp object which caused more injuries to her bad back. Anita with her 15 months old baby girl, Hope, was homeless, sleeping in the street of Sarawak until the baby girl was admitted to Sarawak General Hospital with severe and life threatening illness. Anita went back to work helping out in a coffee shop until she has to stop to attend to baby Hope full time due to her weakening body.

They went back to their kampong in Kalimantan Indonesia but have to travel monthly for hospital appointment in Sarawak GH. This is a costly and very uncomfortable 6 hours journey that begins at 5am. In that early hour Anita would carry her baby to get on a motorcycle taxi (Odjek) to get to the border post when the gates open at 6am. From there it’s another 4 – 5 hours journey in a small mini bus like those who had experience it before in the early days of Kuala Lumpur. But in these mini bus, Anita and her baby will encounter those who smoke inside the bus and causing much discomfort to baby Hope who will be crying not just of discomfort but because of the pain her very weak body was experiencing. Anita was carrying her baby with her bad back but she was determined to get the best medical care for her baby despite of the tough challenges. For the next 2 years her baby girl has been hospitalized a few more times until she died at a very young age 3 years on 30 January 2016.

Anita seemed to never get what she hope for. How many of us have received the life we dreamed or hoped to receive? Anita at 9 years old left home and family, hoping to find a better life, only to be confronted with disappointments. She was battered and bruised because of people, life, and circumstances that are beyond her control. She was a hurting soul and lives a life in quiet desperation. What she did receive from each of you who knows her or heard of her, was far better than what she ever imagined. A new life begins. She learns to laugh. Pain is swallowed up in victory. Disappointment is confounded.

Dear friends, if I could bring Anita and talk to you now and for you to embrace/hugs her with your loves, she would want you to know, thank you for being there for her and her baby girl, Hope. To many who have sent messages, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You are amazing. It has been a joy to serve you in this caring work and it has been even more joy to be served by you during such time. I was told me a long time ago I would not get everything I wanted in life, but what I would get would far surpass all of my disappointments. This is the main lesson I have learned. “It’s worth it all.” What each of you did in caring and loving Anita and baby Hope blow my mind. It makes you and I, human. Thank you

Each of us are picked by The Almighty God to love, serve and care. My prayer is for this message to go forth in the hope that many hurting people will come to know a “friend”. And as in my very good and dear friend (Mona) words, “May this be a reminder to all of us that our work is not done and that there is more Anita and baby Hope who needs all the help we can give”. Lastly, thanks the many friends and strangers in Malaysia and Indonesia in this journey together. Many I have not met. There are no strangers in this world, only friends we have yet to meet.

Dear Anita,
It was hard, wasn’t it? You received some of life’s harshest blows. But because of the divine mercy of Almighty God, you were picked by Him and yours and baby Hope lives have touched many people in different ways. Rest well. Hug baby Hope and let her know that we love her.
Your friend,
Isaac Tan

Hope Lives On, in All of Us. By Mona a care-giver.

This true account is a special dedication to the team of doctors, nurses and NGO friends in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching (Sarawak), Jakarta and Pontianak (Kalimantan). It is a story of love, compassion and dedication across national borders.

January 29, 2016. Isaac Tan (Crisis Home) referred a case of a 25 year old Indonesian woman and her 3 year old daughter named Hope. The child’s Malaysian father died a couple of years ago, leaving mother and child homeless in Kuching, Sarawak. All members of the family were diagnosed with HIV. Isaac, with the assistance of Sarawak AIDS Concern had been providing support services to the mother and child, working on limited resources made available to them. At the point of contact, the child was hospitalised for cancer.

January 30, 2016. Baby Hope left us. It was the mother’s wish for Hope to be buried in Entikong, a small village across the Sarawak border. It was not an easy task, trying to bring Hope home. The death certificate was already stamped, clearly stating that Hope was retroviral positive. Furthermore, Hope was a Malaysian citizen. The infectious disease (ID) specialists at Sarawak General Hospital did their best to facilitate Hope’s return. The Indonesian Embassy was not forthcoming with any offer of assistance, after learning Hope’s family and health history. It was the Indonesian immigration who made it possible. They consented to Hope being transported across the border. It was a miracle!

February 2, 2016. Baby Hope was laid to rest. Her funeral service was full of dignity, surrounded by family and friends. May you rest in peace Baby Hope. You were immensely loved. Without Hope, the mother was no longer eligible for antiretroviral treatment in Malaysia. She had defaulted treatment several times due to dire personal circumstances. People who work in this industry know too well, basic survival needs supersedes treatment adherence. The next priority was to ensure the mother is able to access treatment in Indonesia as soon as possible.

February 25, 2016. Isaac flew to Pontianak to accompany Hope’s mother for her first consultation at Rumah Sakit Umum Dr Sudarso. Her CD4 result was poor, she will require speciliased medical treatment. Nonetheless, the consultation was a great success. To quote from Isaac’s message “Thanks again for all your love n efforts that helps to make this journey with (Hope’s Mother) possible. All is well at Rumah Sakit Sandrosa Pontianak Kalimantan Indonesia this morning. Will going again to the hospital tomorrow morning for (Hope’s Mother) to do the blood test. (Hope’s Mother) will be getting the very costly monthly HIV medicine free (FOC)! The immediate needs will now be for her monthly traveling expenses which is about rm150 rm200 for her survival n get treatment at Rumah Sakit Pontianak. From tomorrow blood test results if her CD4 is too low, Dr Wiwi will start her on the new n very good One month an Injection HIV treatment to bring up CD4 level. I’m amazed by the advance of HIV treatment in Indonesia.”

There are many people we must acknowledge in this story for acting so swiftly upon our request and for making that phone call to Kuching General Hospital and speaking so gently to the Infectious Disease specialist. Thank you Dr Wiwi Endang Susanti and Mbak Nany Andi Syamsudin for providing the best patient care possible; and for being kind and gentle to a fragile soul. And most of all, thank you Isaac Tan, for bringing us all together by your efforts, for taking care of Hope and her mother and last but not least, for reminding us that Hope must live on, in all of us.

I count my blessings every day for the honour for having wonderful colleagues. Apologies for any omissions made or errors in describing the turn of events. I was merely a bystander from afar.

admin on October 25th, 2019

HIV Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). … PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

PEP is a short course of HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your body. You must start it within 72 hours after you were exposed to HIV, or it won’t work. Every hour counts. If you are prescribed PEP, you will take HIV medicines every day for 28 days.

You may be prescribed PEP if you are HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you:

  • Think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex (for example, you had a condom break)
  • Shared needles or works to prepare drugs
  • Were sexually assaulted

PEP is effective in preventing HIV infection when it’s taken correctly, but it’s not 100% effective. The sooner you start PEP after a possible HIV exposure, the better.

Sickness changes us, tests us and defines us.

Most People Living with HIV/AIDS have family members. When they find out that they have a HIV positive family member, the family would find shelters where care can be given to them or they would just leave them in a hospital. But are they not their brother, sister, father, or mother? This was what happened to David, but with treatment, care and support, he is bringing awareness to people  regarding the topic of HIV and AIDS. He does this to remove the concept that getting the virus only happens to other people, that it will never happen to ‘me’, our children, our nephews, or other children in our neighborhood.

Stigmas exist because of the lack of understanding on HIV, where people have false perceptions that this disease can be transmitted through touch, having meals together, swimming in the same pool, spending time in an enclosed air-conditioned room, using the same lavatory, and having being bitten by the same mosquito.

Conversely, the actual fact is that HIV cannot be transmitted through these ways because normal body fluids and waste products such as – feces, nasal fluid, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit – have insufficient amount of virus in them to infect another person, unless blood is mixed in these substances or a person has significant direct contact with one who is living with HIV.

Regardless of the situation, it’s time to educate ourselves about HIV and AIDS so that we can accept People Living with HIV. It is the year 2019 and we are still  hearing stories of People Living with HIV being told turned away from employment or that they are not allowed to eat in the office cafeteria. Thank you for being our long-time partners in getting the correct message out.

Stigma Kills, Treatment works,   Prevention Works.

 

admin on September 21st, 2018

Crisis Home. Caring for People Living with HIV with needs and in darkness. Having their ‘rice bowl’ taken away. Losing their source of income overnight. The most rewarding is providing a home and a safe environment where we are free to dream. When we’re surviving we can dream.

Some of the outreach program of Crisis Home in caring for People Living with HIV.
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http://bit.ly/GoodbyeBabyHope
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http:
//bit.ly/GoodbyeAnita

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To love and care for others, especially for those whom you knew that they can’t reward you. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” From The Good Book, John 15:12

 #LoveYourNeighbours

“Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) such as “ecstasy” and methamphetamine now rank as the world’s second most widely abused drug type after cannabis” UNODC.

ATS use can increase the likelihood of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV transmission during sex by drying mucous membranes, decreasing sensitivity and delaying orgasm, thereby increasing the risk of torn membranes vulnerable to infection. Sexual risk-taking behaviour has been associated with use of ATS. It has been associated with hyper-sexuality and unprotected anal sex among men, and with STIs and urinary tract infections among female sex workers.”
“When sex work and drug use overlap: Considerations for advocacy and practice” by Melissa Hope Ditmore for Harm Reduction International.

There has been a significant increase in the spread of HIV and AIDS cases in Malaysia through heterosexual sex.

Heterosexual sex has become the main contributor, accounting for 70 per cent of recent HIV and AIDS cases, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

“Most of the cases involve men who contract HIV or AIDS after having unprotected sex with female sex workers. These men, after being infected, then pass on the disease to their family,” he told reporters today.

Dr Subramaniam said this factor now poses a bigger threat to public safety, as drug addicts used to be the main cause behind the disease’s spread.

“We have managed to control the spread of HIV and AIDS through drug addicts with various efforts and rehabilitation programmes with non-governmental organisations,” he said.

He said there are currently 40,000 female sex workers at risk of contracting the disease.

“To curb this phenomenon from growing, we have to manage these 40,000 people by reaching out to them and providing the needed help,” he said.

He said there are currently 170,000 drug abusers, 20,000 transgender people, and 170,000 homosexual men who are at risk of contracting the disease.

However, Dr Subramaniam noted that despite the increase, said the number of total HIV and AIDS cases have dropped by 35 per cent since 2000.

The number of AID and HIV-related deaths have also decreased by 42 per cent since 2004, he said.

He said, in line with the United Nation’s Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: On The Fast Tract to Accelerate The Fight Against HIV and to End AIDS Epidemic by 2030, Malaysia also hopes to put an end to the disease with zero new cases within the stipulated period.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/158069/70-cent-hiv-aids-cases-malaysia-transmitted-heterosexual-sex

 

Malaysia is one of the 10 countries which together accounted for over 95% of all new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016, said the United Nations in a recently-released report.

It also contained an extensive analysis of the targets set for 2020 when 90% of all HIV-infected people should know their status, 90% of all HIV-diagnosed people should be able to access anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and 90% of those taking ART have virally suppressed HIV.

The report produced by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS said that there was an annual 13% decline in new infections, from some 310,000 in 2010 to 270,000 in 2016.

It added that some 19.5 million of the world’s 36.7 million HIV-infected people had access to treatment, and said that the target is to put 30 million people worldwide on treatment by 2020.

 

admin on January 15th, 2016

Question: How long can HIV live outside of the body?

Answer: The general response to that question—the one that a person is most likely receive from helplines or brochures—is “not long.” The standard public health message today will tell us, quite fairly, that HIV is a weak virus and that once exposed to air, it can survive for maybe a few minutes at best.

To some, this may seem like a cursory, or even glib, response.

Surely if there are greater quantities of blood or body fluids, then it would stand to reason that HIV could possibly survive for longer than a few minutes, wouldn’t it?

The answer to that question, in all fairness, would be “yes.”

Under specific conditions, HIV can survive for far longer period of time, sometimes for hours or even days if the right temperatures, pH balance, light exposure and humidity are achieved.

It is a very difficult set of conditions but is nevertheless possible.

But does that necessarily mean that a person who comes into contact with spilled blood, semen or body fluids run an actual risk of infection?

The answer to this question is most always “no.”

The presence of HIV in spilled or discarded body fluids does not inherently mean that it has the potential to infect. While the conditions may be suitable for HIV to survive in microscopic quantities, transmission requires both significant quantities of HIV and the ability for the viruses to reach specific target cells within the body. Unless those conditions are satisfied, HIV infection simply cannot occur.

Determining the Potential for HIV Transmission

When discussing the potential for HIV transmission, it’s important to first establish the four criteria that must occur in order for an infection to take place:

  1. There must be body fluids in which HIV can thrive, such as semen, blood, vaginal fluids or breast milk. HIV cannot thrive in the open air or in parts of the body with high acid content (such as the stomach or bladder).
  2. There must be a route of transmission, such as through certain sexual activities, shared needlesoccupational exposure or transmission from mother to child.
  3. There must be a means for the virus to reach vulnerable cells within your body, either through a rupture or penetration of the skin, absorption through vulnerable mucosal tissue, or both. Scrapes, abrasions or pricks on the skin do not generally provide an ample route of entry. HIV cannot penetrate intact skin.
  4. There must be sufficient levels of virus in the body fluids, which is why saliva, sweat and tears are unlikely sources since the level of virus in these fluids is considered insufficient for infection.

Because casual contact with discarded or spilled body fluids do not generally satisfy these conditions, the likelihood of infection is considered low to negligible.

Even in instances where an individual has come into contact with a discarded syringe—considered to be of potentially higher risk—most research has suggested that the risk of transmission was next to zero. An extensive review conducted in Australia in 2003 reported not one cases of HIV or hepatitis C as a result of contact with a discarded needle.

Conditions by Which HIV Can Survive Outside of the Body

If HIV were to survive outside of the body for more than a few minutes, it would need to do so within the following conditions:

  • Colder temperatures below 39oF (4oC) are considered ideal for HIV to thrive in syringes, where it is better able to maintain levels of humidity. By contrast, HIV does not do well at room temperature (68oF/20oC), with viability decreasing significantly as it reaches body temperature (98.6oF/37oC) and beyond.
  • The ideal pH level for HIV is between 7 and 8, with the optimal level of 7.1. Anything above or below these levels is considered unsuitable for survival. This is why HIV is less able to thrive in certain mucosal tissues such as nasal passages or the vaginal tissue of healthy women, as well as in feces, urine or vomit.
  • HIV can, survive in dried blood at room temperature for up to six days, although most research shows that concentrations of the virus in dried blood are almost universally low.
  • HIV survives longer when it is not exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light degrades the lipids that comprise HIV’s exterior shell, rendering it incapable to attach to other cells, while it also degrades the genetic material that HIV needs to replicate.

http://aids.about.com/od/hivaidsbasics/fl/How-Long-Can-HIV-Really-Live-Outside-of-the-Body.htm?nl=1

admin on April 16th, 2015

In 2014, 78% of the new HIV cases in Malaysia are transmitted via sex with a total new cases of 3,517. For 2014 – 9 new infection took place every day. Ratios : Injecting Drug Users – 19%, M​an having S​ex with M​an – 30% and Heterosexuals – 50%.