A tough challenge for HIV

A six-day, 156 mile (251km) race, deemed the toughest on earth by the Discovery Channel will be completed by a HIV advocate to raise funds for the work of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF).

Jeff Lau, 26, will be among an anticipated 1,000 endurance runners taking on the terrain of the southern Moroccan Sahara desert in the 31st edition of Marathon des Sables. He’s the youngest Malaysian runner in the history of the race.

The challenge runs from 8-18 April, and Lau hopes to raise RM 200,000 (50,000 USD), just $320 for every gruelling mile.

Jeff champions HIV awareness among the youth, and advocates for increased HIV testing and treatment. The money raised will help provide support to underprivileged women and children living with HIV. Jeff’s advocacy work has awarded him the title of ‘Red Ribbon Youth Icon’ by the Malaysian Ministry of Health in 2015.

Help Jeff reach his target here.

jeffLife-saving work

MAF is a non-governmental organisation that is the Alliance Linking Organisation in Malaysia. It raises funds to support the activities and programmes of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and its partners.

These programmes include providing access to life-saving second line antiretroviral treatment for underprivileged Malaysians living with HIV and specific programmes for women and children. In Malaysia, more than 88,000 people are living with HIV, many of whom are from underprivileged backgrounds with limited access to basic healthcare and vulnerable to marginalisation due to stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

Women and children living with HIV are more vulnerable to the negative social and economic impact of HIV. Often women are often abandoned by their family due to the stigma imposed by their surrounding community and can become isolated, along with limited access to basic healthcare.

MAC’s activities are reaching people living with HIV with health services, care and compassion, and running community-based HIV education to reduce stigma.

discrimination kills At the MAC office © Alliance

Programmes for women and children

  • Shelter Home Programme: For children orphaned by AIDS and women infected or affected by HIV.
  • Keep in School Scheme: A monthly financial assistance scheme for adolescents living with or affected by HIV that helps them with schooling needs.
  • Paediatric AIDS Fund: A monthly financial assistance scheme that helps to alleviate the burden of living with HIV for children below 13 years from underprivileged backgrounds.
  • Female empowerment: Peer-driven community strengthening initiative that provides social support on health and treatment literacy as well as referral services to state welfare institutions and livelihood opportunities to women living with or affected by HIV.

Donate to Jeff’s challenge here.