About Us


The Society for AIDS Care, established in November 1994, is a community-based and non-profit making charitable organization. It is the first non-governmental organization in Asia providing high quality direct patient care services to children, adults and elderly people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and their care-givers. Our professional service team consists of nurses, social workers, counselors and physiotherapists. We provide both outreach services and center-based services on care and prevention of HIV/AIDS, including drug supervision, therapeutic counseling, psychological support, physiotherapy, physical training, peers support, public education and volunteers training. We are committed to providing professional care services to PLWHA to strengthen their self-care ability, build up their self-confidence and vision of positive living, so as to facilitate full community reintegration.

History

In 1996, the government leased the Tai Po Lookout to SAC. We launched the Lookout Residential Care Centre to provide hospice care for our members. The service was first operated in June 1997 and was successfully transformed to a center based rehabilitation center in Kowloon after the closure of the hospice service on 1 June 2000.

The Lookout functioned as a 24-hour residential medical center that offered day care as well as in-patient service, particularly for terminal patients. It was recognized as Asia’s first and only 24-hour residential medical care center at that time. Facilities were also set up for patients’ families to stay overnight when they needed to. On top of these, the Lookout was a center for physiotherapy and counseling to help patient maintain good physical and psychological health. An integration of services was provided by a team of specifically trained doctors, nurses and social workers in palliative care. It was closely associated with other Hong Kong SAR medical bodies such as the Department of Health AIDS Unit and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Special Medical Unit to provide more comprehensive care to patients. In addition, the Lookout provided educational and experimental training for medical personnel in AIDS care.

Most of the patients admitted when the Lookout first operated were kicked out by their families, who could not tolerate the notion of living under the same roof with relatives contracted with HIV. They had low chance of survival unless they had a high insurance premium or were able to afford treatment overseas. Two of the seventy-three patients died during their stay at the Lookout. The bungalow served as a quiet sanctuary for these patients.

With the advancement of AIDS treatment, demand for hospice service for AIDS care declined drastically with the emergence of antiretroviral drugs, which profoundly lengthen the life span of AIDS patients. Taking a combination of several drugs, patients are expected to live as long as they remain on medication. The plan for expansion was eventually abandoned as dedicated hospice facilities were no longer widely needed as before. Access to medical care in public hospitals was much easier. Thereon, the Lookout put its focus on nursing care and counseling instead of medical services. It served as a “mid-way home” for patients to rebuild self-esteem and helped them integrate into the community by providing space and time for them to organize themselves.

Funding for the Lookout ceased in the third year of the Project on the grounds that the Project performed overlapping functions as other hospice services provided by public hospitals. The SAC could not find sufficient financial support for running the Lookout. Moreover, resorting to life in a remote part of the New Territories was unnecessary as AIDS patients under cocktail therapy were able to lead to a more or less normal life at home. Falling short of demand, together with the drying up of funds, prompted the SAC’s decision to put an end to the Project in February 2000. The last two patients at the Lookout were transferred to other medical centers and marked the official closure of the Lookout at the end of May 2000. Although the Lookout Project did not last long, it was a pioneering experiment to introduce hospice service into the existing medical system. It brought insights to other health projects as in the importance of considering medical development and patients’ needs.

MISSION

We are committed to provide professional care service to the PLWHA to strengthen their self-care ability, build up their self-confidence and vision of positive living, so as to facilitate their full community reintegration.

OBJECTIVE

To advocate for PLWHA on their rights to have quality of life and rights to be respected.
To collaborate with and to empower partners including community groups or individuals to develop integrated sustainable HIV/AIDS programs on care and prevention.
To provide resources and support for partners in implementing HIV/AIDS programs on care and prevention.

Milestones

  • 1994

    The Society for AIDS Care was established

  • 1995

    The Home Care Service commenced by a group of professional nurses

  • 1996


    The government leased the Tai Po Lookout to SAC

  • 1997

    Provision of hospice care service to the terminally ill patients at Lookout Residential Care Centre

  • 1999

    Rehabilitation Service has commenced since 1999 to improve or maintain PLWHA’s physical abilities and enabling them to develop a better quality of life and a better preparation for community re-integration

  • 2000

    Closure of Lookout and transformed our center based rehabilitation center in Kowloon

  • The Society for AIDS Care was established

  • The Home Care Service commenced by a group of professional nurses



  • The government leased the Tai Po Lookout to SAC

  • Provision of hospice care service to the terminally ill patients at Lookout Residential Care Centre

  • Rehabilitation Service has commenced since 1999 to improve or maintain PLWHA’s physical abilities and enabling them to develop a better quality of life and a better preparation for community re-integration

  • Closure of Lookout and transformed our center based rehabilitation center in Kowloon

  • 2001

    Implemented “Mother-to-Child Transmission Prevention Program”, the only charitable organization to provide this service in Hong Kong.

  • 2003

    Moved the Day Centre to Mongkok which is a safe and cozy place where the PLWHA could feel free to visit, use the facilities and join the therapeutic programs.

  • 2004

    Set up Community Fundraising Team and help to promote community acceptance and AIDS related information & education in the community

  • 2006

    • Launched the Home Base Counseling Service
    • Launched HK-China AIDS Training Program

  • 2008

    Set-up Food Bank at Day Centre

  • 2010

    Launched a new school program “HEY!” (HIV/AIDS Education for Youth) for teenagers

  • Implemented “Mother-to-Child Transmission Prevention Program”, the only charitable organization to provide this service in Hong Kong.

  • Moved the Day Centre to Mongkok which is a safe and cozy place where the PLWHA could feel free to visit, use the facilities and join the therapeutic programs.

  • Set up Community Fundraising Team and help to promote community acceptance and AIDS related information & education in the community

    • Launched the Home Base Counseling Service
    • Launched HK-China AIDS Training Program
  • Set-up Food Bank at Day Centre

  • Launched a new school program “HEY!” (HIV/AIDS Education for Youth) for teenagers

  • 2011

    Dr. Andrew Yuen and Ms. Caroline Wong joined SAC as Board Directors Through our Mother-to Child Transmission Intervention Program, there were six babies born HIV free in that year. Took part in the “F2F Monthly Giving Alliance” with 19 local organizations to increase transparency of street face-to-face fund raising activity. All projects submitted for Lee Ka Shing Foundation “Love Ideas HK Programme” were successfully funded in which “Love@Nutritional Meals” was awarded by Mr. Lee Ka Shing personally for an extra double grant. Collaborated the Social Work Students Placement Training Program with School of Public Affairs, Henan Normal University.

  • 2012

    Since 2001, SAC experienced a 100% success rate in terms of prevention with a total of 30 babies born free of HIV today. To commemorate World AIDS Day, SAC invited over 6,000 people from different sectors of the community to take photo with the message “We do not discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS” on a red ribbon to show their support.

  • 2013

    Granted free air time for our newly produced TV commercial from the Government Announcements in the Public Interest this year. With “invisible masks” as the theme, it aims to arouse public awareness on HIV transmission and to promote the acceptance of PLWHA. Produced a radio program through the Community Involvement Broadcasting Program of Radio Television Hong Kong introducing AIDS facts and developments to alleviate common misconceptions and misunderstanding. Kicked off the “Giving Love Campaign” in which a year round “Milk Milk Saving Bank” promotion campaign was launched for public to donate their spare changes and show their acceptance and support to people living with HIV/AIDS. Media interviews were conducted at the Day Center including newspaper coverage of a HIV positive mother who gave birth to a HIV free baby and a single father who takes care of his HIV positive son solely for 20 years. The touching stories attracted a lot of positive comments. A NowTV medical documentary covering the late stage of AIDS patients to provide public with better understanding of HIV care service in Hong Kong and the importance of maintaining good health through our holistic care model for our patients. We hoped the Government would expand more resources funding for the direct patient services. Organized school talks on HIV/AIDS to raise students’ concern and awareness

    • Dr. Andrew Yuen and Ms. Caroline Wong joined SAC as Board Directors
    • Through our Mother-to Child Transmission Intervention Program, there were six babies born HIV free in that year.
    • Took part in the “F2F Monthly Giving Alliance” with 19 local organizations to increase transparency of street face-to-face fund raising activity.
    • All projects submitted for Lee Ka Shing Foundation “Love Ideas HK Programme” were successfully funded in which “Love@Nutritional Meals” was awarded by Mr. Lee Ka Shing personally for an extra double grant.
    • Collaborated the Social Work Students Placement Training Program with School of Public Affairs, Henan Normal University
    • Since 2001, SAC experienced a 100% success rate in terms of prevention with a total of 30 babies born free of HIV today.
    • To commemorate World AIDS Day, SAC invited over 6,000 people from different sectors of the community to take photo with the message “We do not discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS” on a red ribbon to show their support.
    • Granted free air time for our newly produced TV commercial from the Government Announcements in the Public Interest this year. With “invisible masks” as the theme, it aims to arouse public awareness on HIV transmission and to promote the acceptance of PLWHA.
    • Produced a radio program through the Community Involvement Broadcasting Program of Radio Television Hong Kong introducing AIDS facts and developments to alleviate common misconceptions and misunderstanding.
    • Kicked off the “Giving Love Campaign” in which a year round “Milk Milk Saving Bank” promotion campaign was launched for public to donate their spare changes and show their acceptance and support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
    • Media interviews were conducted at the Day Center including newspaper coverage of a HIV positive mother who gave birth to a HIV free baby and a single father who takes care of his HIV positive son solely for 20 years. The touching stories attracted a lot of positive comments.
    • A NowTV medical documentary covering the late stage of AIDS patients to provide public with better understanding of HIV care service in Hong Kong and the importance of maintaining good health through our holistic care model for our patients. We hoped the Government would expand more resources funding for the direct patient services.
    • Organized school talks on HIV/AIDS to raise students’ concern and awareness
  • 2014

    20th Anniversary of The Society for AIDS Care M.A.C AIDS Fund donated HK$500,000 to support activities of World AIDS Day 2014 Assisted 32 HIV positive mothers to give birth to HIV free babies and maintained 100% success rate Launched the Bread Sharing Program with Foodlink A new mainland-based AIDS children program was launched in collaboration with the Guangxi Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The center mainly takes care of children with AIDS.

  • 2015

    Held the first “Superhero Run” at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Launched the “Red! Yellow! Green! We Grow! Adolescent-oriented Life Skill Education Program for local secondary school students A new program “Male Sexual Health” has been initiated which aim at enhancing awareness on safer sex and cultivate friendly sexual health environment for men having sex with men community. PLWHA Health Survey Press Conference was held to explain the consequences of delayed treatment and an AIDS patient was present to share his painful story of permanent disability due to delayed treatment. Launched the China-HK AIDS Professional Exchange Program Launched the Guangxi Family Trip

  • 2016

    The New Women Phone-in Hotline and Free HIV Testing Service was established. Enquiries are handled by our registered nurses and social workers. Joined the first Asia Pacific AIDS & Co-infections Conference 2016 as supporting organization held in Hong Kong

  • 2017

    • Ms. Clara Ingen-Housz and Mr. Marcel Thoma joined SAC as Board Directors
    • Joined the second Asia Pacific AIDS & Co-infections Conference 2017 in Hong Kong as supporting organization again
    • Launched the donation appeal video for the Sunflower Orphan Centre in Cambodia
    • Launched the newly designed website

    • 20th Anniversary of The Society for AIDS Care
    • M.A.C AIDS Fund donated HK$500,000 to support activities of World AIDS Day 2014
    • Assisted 32 HIV positive mothers to give birth to HIV free babies and maintained 100% success rate
    • Launched the Bread Sharing Program with Foodlink
    • A new mainland-based AIDS children program was launched in collaboration with the Guangxi Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The center mainly takes care of children with AIDS.
    • Held the first “Superhero Run” at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
    • Launched the “Red! Yellow! Green! We Grow! Adolescent-oriented Life Skill Education Program for local secondary school students
    • A new program “Male Sexual Health” has been initiated which aim at enhancing awareness on safer sex and cultivate friendly sexual health environment for men having sex with men community.
    • PLWHA Health Survey Press Conference was held to explain the consequences of delayed treatment and an AIDS patient was present to share his painful story of permanent disability due to delayed treatment.
    • Launched the China-HK AIDS Professional Exchange Program
    • Launched the Guangxi Family Trip
    • The New Women Phone-in Hotline and Free HIV Testing Service was established. Enquiries are handled by our registered nurses and social workers.
    • Joined the first Asia Pacific AIDS & Co-infections Conference 2016 as supporting organization held in Hong Kong
    • Ms. Clara Ingen-Housz and Mr. Marcel Thoma joined SAC as Board Directors
    • Joined the second Asia Pacific AIDS & Co-infections Conference 2017 in Hong Kong as supporting organization again
    • Launched the donation appeal video for the Sunflower Orphan Centre in Cambodia
    • Launched the newly designed website

Message from CEO

There were 36.7 million people living with HIV globally at the end of 2015. At the July biennial International AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa, attended by over 18,000 global delegates, the 90-90-90 target (90% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 90% of people diagnosed taking HIV treatment, 90% of those on treatment achieving viral suppression) was endorsed to be the key to achieving the aspiration of an end to AIDS by 2030. However, as expressed by the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé that funding remained the vital key to determine if the epidemic could draw to an end. He reiterated if the funding continue to fall, it would be impossible to achieve the targets and rather than ending AIDS by 2030, the epidemic will rebound and rates of new infections will once again increase.

Back in Hong Kong, we saw the height of new HIV infections in more than three decades with 725 new cases reported in 2015. As of the first quarter of 2016, the new infection number was at 7,865. The alarming climb signals that HIV remains a public threat. Funding for AIDS program allotted for direct patient’s program was unusually low last year. This places heavy burden in patient’s care service especially when many patients admitted under care were diagnosed at late stage.

Locally, over 70% of people living with HIV/AIDS contracted HIV through sexual transmission and approximately one in five PLWHA are women. Despite the alarming figure, women who acquired the infection normally were diagnosed at the late stage of their illness. This indicates stronger needs of programs specially designed for women in Hong Kong. To promote more testing opportunities for this sector, The Society for AIDS Care has launched a new hotline phone in and testing program for women in February this year. The program is handled by our experienced HIV nurse and social worker, aims to raise the awareness of women testing and promote early treatment. Since there is no cure for HIV, it is very important that people will come forward for early diagnosis so that treatment could be provided to extending life expectancy and curbing the epidemic.

The Society remains active in admitting new patients last year. New patients from different age groups were admitted through hospitals’ referrals. They were referred for our service due to poor health with low mood/depression and required assistance in drug supervision, disability rehabilitation and social integration. To avoid the transmission of HIV virus from a HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding, our professional home care mother-to-child-transmission intervention program have successfully eliminated HIV in 33 new infants from HIV positive mothers under our care today.

We continue to place looking after sero-discordant couples (one person who is HIV-positive and one who is HIV-negative) as one of our priority areas in HIV prevention last year. The program highlights one of the most important recent developments in HIV prevention with the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the negative partner. Together with education for safer sex and improving HIV-positive individual’s HIV adherence treatment plan, this program provides a very high level of protection against HIV for those sero-discordant couples planning having babies.

We are pleased to announce our patient’s survey on center service audit last year through self-administrated questionnaires; it was revealed that 93.8% of patients who attended our service felt there was improvement in their self-perceived image. Whilst 94.3% felt that they were more confident to reintegrate into the society.

The Hong Kong-China Social Work Student Placement Program has been organized since 2011, students were scaled up on their social practice skills in caring for PLWHA in the Mainland with special focus on HIV positive children. The program will be extended further to accommodate the collaboration of more Universities in China in the coming year.

It was our honor to have the Secretary of Food and Health, Dr. Ko Wing-Man, to officiate our Red Day @ World AIDS Day campaign held on 1st December last year. At the opening, Dr. Ko complimented on the success of our unique rehabilitation care services and in educating public acceptance for PLWHA.

In terms of funding support for our programs, we are very thankful for our monthly donors and corporates that devote their time and efforts in helping us. All of the good work cannot be achieved without their generosity. We look forward to bringing even more positive changes in the HIV/AIDS community in our coming years.


 




Alice Chan
Chief Executive Officer
Oct 2016

 

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