MSM Poz is a unique programme in Malaysia, offering support to HIV positive MSM through face-to-face outreach, counseling, monthly support groups, education sessions, online counseling and a supportive, dedicated website.
MSM Poz was set up in September 2009 by a group of volunteers who got together to set up a monthly support group for HIV positive MSM in Kuala Lumpur. There had been a group set up a number of years before but had stopped functioning and the new group felt it was time to do something. Originally 15 guys met in a private room over a Thai restaurant in the city centre and the monthly gathering grew in numbers as word got around about this unique group. Then in 2010 some of the group members decided to apply to MAC AIDS Fund to get some funding to be able to expand the group into a programme. Their funding request was successful and this allowed them to hire 3 staff, Kevin, Alif and Naza, all of whom had been members of the group since the beginning. Kevin was hired as the programme manager. Alif conducted outreach, recruiting newly diagnosed clients at the main HIV clinics in the hospitals around Kuala Lumpur. Naza was the group facilitator and ran the sessions and also moderated the hugely successful closed Facebook group and developed peer training modules for the members. From the outset the group set up an advisory board made up of subject experts and key community members to provide guidance and support on programme design and implementation. The staff reported to the advisory board on a quarterly basis. Individual training modules were developed for the newly diagnosed and clients who had just started their medication. In 2011 the programme successfully renewed their funding with MAC AIDS Fund and presented a number of posters and sessions at ICAAP in Busan. The programme further expanded, hiring Along as Administrator, to manage more than 1000 client records and organising many activities.
The project has expanded tremendously every single year since 2009. Apart from hiring 3 headcounts, the programme also starting developing peer facilitators among the MSM Poz members. These were clients who the team believed had the potential skills dealing with clients and counseling them in groups or individually as a peer mentor. 14 members have so far been selected and groomed to assist the team in supporting the members on the many aspects of living with HIV. Their individual specialisations include: insurance, research on HIV and HAART, outdoor pursuits, support group circle mentoring, ICT, counseling and care, and many more skills. The programme also has a unique website – www.msmpoz.com written in three languages (Malay, Chinese and English) and covering topics important to positive MSM.
2013 is the third year of running under the grant from MAC AIDS FUND. One of the unique activities for this year is the PEP (Post Exposure Prophylactic) Reimbursement Scheme pilot. For the past two years the team encountered clients who had a need to access PEP for a partner but found it either not available or prohibitively expensive. The team developed a system supplying PEP at a reduced cost by engaging the affected client with several hospitals in Kuala Lumpur. Since starting this project, MSM Poz has supported 7 clients to access PEP and all have resulted in a negative outcome for their partner after having gone through the treatment for 30 days.
In the future the team hope to partner with other national and regional groups such as MyPlus and APN+ to further develop programming for positive MSM in Malaysia and the region.
For more information on MSM Poz Malaysia:
MSM Poz Programme
7C-1, Jalan Ipoh Kecil,
Off Jalan Raja Laut, P.O.Box 11859,
50350 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel : +603-40444611
MSM Poz Website: http://www.msmpoz.com
MSM Poz Blog: http://msmpoz.com/blog/
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© MSM Poz 2013, © APCOM 2013
Source: MSM Poz 2013
Copyright: MSM Poz 2013, APCOM 2013