Home care team serves as a crucial service within the multidisciplinary team in local community. The unique service is especially important for patients who have no access to other community services due to many inhibiting factors for seeking help. The service conducted by professional AIDS care nurses, aims to improve PLHIV’s management of medication adherence, ability in self-care and awareness of the importance of risk reduction. The service will commence as soon as a referral has been received. The initial assessment will be conducted at patient’s home and service commenced in home hospital and AIDS clinic. Besides care renders to PLHIV, education on HIV/AIDS and support are provided to their care-givers.
This unique service assists the care-givers to alleviate anxieties regarding HIV/AIDS and how to care for the patient at home. Our home care nurses, through intensive contact, fill in the gap where hospitals and clinics cannot cater for needs of PLHIV outside clinic hours. For those who need urgent consultation and assistance outside office hours, a 24-hour emergency service is provided. From our previous experience, it has been proven that the service has helped many PLHIV to handle urgent needs outside clinic hours and is especially important for the newly diagnosed and those who have started new regimen of HAART.
The SAC home care service provides 7 major service scopes including:
1) Medication supervision and administration
2) Safer sex and risk reduction education
4) Emotional support
5) Psychosocial support
6) Bereavement counseling for care givers
7) Collaboration with other health care professionals
Those services are aiming at improvement of their health status and well beings. Each case is seen as an individual and after assessment, a treatment plan and goal set will be established in accordance to the different needs of the individual patient. The treatment plan will be conducted in different stages but normally will start from physical intervention aiming for the final community re-integration.
At the initial stage of intervention, the target includes drug supervision, health knowledge education, safer sex education and related plan according to the health condition of the patient. In addition, ample emotional support with frequently home and hospital visits encourages the patients to work towards achieving their goals.
The close collaboration of home care nurse team and our Day Care Centre team has witnessed many successful cases. Many PLHIV, including singleton and family cases, managed to build up good support networks with other members. These positive interactions help them with better life adjustment and better prepared them for community reintegration.
Regular phone contacts, face-to-face interviews and training were provided to maintain communication with PLHIV and to provide immediate assistance in need. 100% of service recipients indicated improvement in their drug adherence, health care and self-care knowledge. 100% expressed that the home care service supported both their psychological and physical well beings after receiving the service. This in turn helped them to improve their coping capacity for the HIV/AIDS disease. We are really happy to witness successful achievement of some cases. For example, some cases who were very sick and with poor prognosis and now managed to go through the rehabilitation process and hoping for a brighter future with the possibility of job retraining.
The SAC physiotherapy service has been commenced since 1999. We target on providing rehabilitative services to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and their care-givers according to their physical problems and clinical presentations. Immediate and appropriate physiotherapy services can help PLHIV to maintain their mobility and decrease the occurrence of irreversible physical damage. Better physical mobility enables them to achieve better quality of life, live independently and to integrate to the community.
PLHIV usually complicate with various physical problems which may be caused by their immunodeficiency and toxicity of the therapy (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, HAART) they received.
Peripheral neuropathy is one of the commonest diseases that may occur in this population. PLHIV who suffered from peripheral neuropathy may manifest different degree of sensory and motor deficits. Sensory deficits include hypersensitivity, absence of jerks, allodynia and paraesthesia, while motor deficits involve muscle weakness and atrophy as well as joint stiffness. Poor balance and gait problem would be shown subsequently. Besides, other systemic diseases, which maybe induced by HAART or related to HIV, like weaken lung function, lipodystrophy, high blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels, are generally confronted by PLHIV where the symptoms may not be shown instantly.
Last but not least, conditions such as osteonecrosis, various arthritis and tendinitis are also frequently reported by PLHIV. It implies that there is a strong need of physiotherapy interventions among our clients to help them alleviate those disabilities and impairments. The SAC physiotherapy service operates with a referral basis. SAC receives physiotherapy referrals from public hospitals and private general practitioners, as well as from the three HIV clinics in Hong Kong. Once a client was referred, the physiotherapist would then determine whether home-based or center-based physiotherapy interventions should be arranged. A tailor-made treatment plan and goal would be set for each client during the initial physical examination. SAC maintains good communications between SAC physiotherapy service and clinicians by providing progress reports to corresponding HIV clinics.
There are different training apparatuses and electrical modalities in SAC center which allows more varieties and choices for physiotherapy treatments. The decision of modalities use depends on the service recipient’s need and condition. Individual care plan and intervention will be reviewed and updated frequently to maximize their recovery.
A series of therapeutic groups will be held each year on both regular and irregular basis. A designated objective is assigned to each group, like core strengthening and cardiovascular training. Participants enjoy the time as all the groups are fun and energetic, they encourage each other during exercise, enabling good, supportive relationships.
SAC Center is a multi-integrated day care center for people living with HIV/ AIDS (PLHIV). It provides diverse therapeutic services conducted by professional staff to meet the different needs of PLHIV using multi-professional approach. The center serves as a path to full rehabilitation. Although numerous efforts have been placed to promote acceptance of PLHIV in Hong Kong, PLHIV still face discrimination and stigmatization in the community. The vivid discrimination leads to fear of disclosure of their HIV status and thus poses a lot of obstacles in seeking mainstream social service in the community.
The SAC center provides a non-judgmental and supportive environment for members to participate in different recreational and therapeutic programs. Facilitation of peer support programs is especially vital as service recipients are more willing to share their feelings with their peers in the same situation more readily. SAC also takes an active role in improving their physical and psychosocial well-being. Numerous targeted programs and goals set help PLHIV to prepare well before community reintegration.
Diverse targeted programs are implemented in the center to meet the different needs. All members agreed that the center programs, including both regular and special target programs, helped building up their social network. Members showed good sense of belonging towards the center and they were very keen to pick up different tasks. They learned different skills during the process and built up their capacities and therefore enhanced their self-esteem. They were also more willing to outreach to the public and promote acceptance on HIV/AIDS issues.
Supported by Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme under Health Bureau, “Together We Love – Mental Health Support Project” has been launched in May 2023. The project aims at enhancing the knowledge on mental health and motivation in help seeking for the elderly with HIV infection and their carers. One of the programs in the project is peer support group training. Professional social worker delivers training on self-awareness, emotion management and communication skills for people living with HIV and their carers. In addition to improving self-affirmation, participants can also build mutual trust through group sharing and establish peer support networks in the community.
The annual Mid-Autumn Festival celebration of SAC Center was held on 19 September with the theme of “Be Together for Glorious Future”. We hope that members can support each other and live a wonderful life. Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic in the past three years, no dining was arranged for the Mid-Autumn Festival gathering. In addition to participating in games, lucky draws and gift packs sharing arranged by volunteers and center staff, nearly fifty members enjoying delicious food and chatting in a restaurant for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival together. We would like to give a big applause to all sponsors and our private donor for the generous donation of mooncakes and gifts to support our activity. For those who could not attend the celebration in persons, to share the joy of the festival, mooncakes and gifts were delivered to their homes.
In a lively atmosphere, more than 20 SAC members celebrated their birthdays from May to August together. Volunteer members assisted in preparing uniquely designed balloon decorations and wristbands for the participants. Everyone enjoyed the game and snacks prepared by center staff, chit chat happily for a wonderful weekend.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science, GlaxoSmithKline plc and Abbott Laboratories Limited, a health talk was organized in SAC Centre on July 22, with the theme "Know more on Liver and Kidney Health." We were honored to have Dr. Lily Cheng, council member of Hong Kong Society for HIV Medicine and specialist in infectious and communicable diseases, as our guest speaker. Dr. Cheng shared the information about the indicators of monitoring liver and kidney health, the methods of prevention and treatment of hepatitis, how to reverse fatty liver and detect the symptoms of liver and kidney disease. Dr. Cheng mentioned that maintaining a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption, can help the liver and kidneys be healthy. Dr. Cheng emphasized that people who have been taking HIV treatment should not take proprietary and herbal drugs casually to avoid damage to liver and kidneys. If the liver and kidney function of PLHIV has already weakened with symptoms such as fever occur, they should seek medical advice as soon as possible to avoid health deterioration if symptoms such as fever occurs.
SAC Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony was held on 18 May as to commend the volunteers of SAC Center for their contribution in the past year. In addition to reviewing the past work with the volunteers and presenting certificates of commendation, social worker also looked forward to the direction of development and new year planning with the volunteers. Through training and various service opportunities, volunteers can enhance their self-understanding, communication skills and contribute themselves with full potential.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk was held in SAC Center on May 13 with the theme "GI Tract Health and You." We were honored to have Dr. Liu, a specialist in infectious and communicable diseases from the Princess Margaret Hospital, as our guest speaker. Dr. Liu shared the importance of maintaining GI health and preventing cancer, and provided some tips on lifestyle, such as consuming more dietary fiber, engaging in regular exercise, and reducing smoking and alcohol intake, to help maintain GI health. We learned a lot of practical knowledge and understood the importance of closely monitoring and undergoing routine cancer screening.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk was held in SAC Center on May 6 with the theme of " Awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) ". We are very honored to invite Dr. Alfred Sit Yao Wai from Special Preventive Programme, Department of Health, as our guest speaker to share the information on some common sexually transmitted diseases include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and Mpox with our members. As we can be infected repeatedly by STD, Dr. Sit explained apart from adopting safer sex and reducing number of sex partners, receiving treatment together with sex partner can reduce the chance or repeated infection. In addition, Dr. Sit recommended vaccination for some STD such as Mpox can help the body not to be affected seriously.
Spring comes, slightly cool and warm, it is a good day to reunite with friends. SAC Birthday Party has been suspended for three years since COVID-19 epidemic. On 22 April, SAC reorganized the party again and more than 20 members gathered together for celebrating the joy with members borne between January and April. They participated in games, shared snacks and chit chat happily for a wonderful weekend.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a skin health talk was held in SAC Centre on April 14 with the theme of " Common Skin Problems and Treatment". We are very honored to invite Dr CK Kwan, a specialist in dermatology and venereology, as our guest speaker to share the knowledge on some common skin diseases include psoriasis, acne, athlete's foot, fungal toenail, eczema, herpes zoster and warts etc. In addition, Dr. Kwan also shared the tips of daily skin care as well as paying attention to sun protection and moisturizing, which can enhance the protection of our skin.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk about “Adherence to HIV Treatment and HIV Prevention” was held at SAC Centre on 14 Jan. We are honored to invite Dr Bonnie Wong from SPP, the Department of Health to be our guest speaker. Dr Wong shared the information on current antiviral treatment development such as long-lasting injection treatment. Also, she further explained the effect and management on drug-drug interaction between antiviral and other chronic illness medication. Dr Wong actively promoted the message of "Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)" and encouraged people living with HIV/AIDS to maintain treatment adherence to keep the HIV viral load in the body persistently remains undetectable, then no chance for the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact. Hence, eliminating discrimination against HIV/AIDS.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk about long COVID with the theme of "Chronic Illness and Long COVID" was held at SAC Center on 22 October. We are very honored to invite Dr. Grace Lui, Honorary Associate Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as our guest speaker to explain the definition and symptoms of long COVID, the condition and treatment for people living with HIV and the general public. In addition, Dr Lui also shared about sarcopenia and taught the members about diet and exercise guidelines for the prevention of sarcopenia.
The health talk related to cognitive impairment was held at SAC Centre on 24 Sep and the topic was “Understanding neurological diseases and cognitive impairment”. We are honored to invite Dr Barry Tam, clinical psychologist from PMH as guest speaker, to explain the research on cognitive impairment caused by HIV, different stage situation and intervention recommendation. He suggested for early intervention by prescribing appropriate antiretroviral therapy, increasing cardiopulmonary exercise and cognitive stimulation therapy for improvement.
The annual Mid-Autumn Festival celebration of SAC Center was held on 27 August with the theme of “Walk together with love and energy”. Due to the extent of the social distancing, around 40 members joined the event. They gathered to participate in the guessing riddles and game booths arranged by volunteers. Members also enjoyed the games and lucky draws. And for those who could not attend the celebration in persons, to share the joy of the festival, mooncakes and gifts were delivered to their homes. We would like to give a big applause to all sponsors and our private donor for the generous donation of mooncakes, gifts and epidemic prevention goods to support our activity.
SAC express our appreciation to M･A･C VIVA GLAM for sponsoring the Nagomi Pastel Art Workshop. The workshops allowed our members have a peaceful space to create Nagomi pastel works. With the guidance of professional tutors, members learned about the origin, skills and passions of Nagomi pastel with different themes. Many participants have just realized the power of Nagomi Pastel for the first time. During the learning process, they not only gained satisfaction and found a peaceful space, but also a good opportunity to build a peer support network among members. They learnt to appreciate themselves and each other and develop their strengths.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk related to cancer risk was held at SAC Centre on 23 July and the topic was “To know more about common cancers”. We are honored to invite Dr Alfred Sit from Special Preventive Program of Department of Health to be our guest speaker to explain on the pathological causes, risk factors and screening methods of several cancers, including colorectal, cervical, breast, prostate, lung and liver cancer. Dr. Sit recommended that members maintain a healthy diet, quit smoking and alcohol habits, exercise regularly, and conduct relevant examinations, which can effectively achieve early detection and early treatment.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk related to HIV cardiovascular disease was held at SAC Centre on 25th June and the topic was “Cardiovascular Health and You”. We are honored to invite Dr Daphne Lau, Specialist in Infectious Diseases, from Princess Margaret Hospital to be our guest speaker. Dr Lau explained the pathology and causes of cardiovascular diseases, the risk of heart disease and treatment methods for people living with HIV (PLHIV). She shared that studies have shown that PLHIV have an average of 2 times higher risk of cardiovascular disease than non-infected people. She further suggested that cardiovascular disease can be effectively prevented through diet control, quitting smoking and drinking habits, maintaining regular exercise, and conducting related examinations.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk “Adherence to HIV Treatment and HIV Prevention” was held at SAC Centre on 28 May. We are honored to invite Dr Wyman Hui, Specialist in Infectious Disease, from the Hong Kong Society for HIV Medicine to be our guest speaker. Dr Hui shared that current antiviral treatment is advanced and simple with few side effects. According to existing scientific research, effective antiviral drug treatment can achieve "Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)", that is, as long as the HIV viral load in the body persistently remains undetectable, there is nearly no chance for the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact. Therefore, medication compliance and treatment adherence are the keys to effectively inhibit and prevent the spread of HIV. Dr Hui further introduced various promotion campaigns of U=U around the world, hoping to reduce discrimination against HIV/AIDS, encourage regular HIV testing, and increase the determination of infected people to receive treatment.
With the persistence of COVID-19 epidemic, the activity of making rice dumplings with members in SAC Centre still need to be suspended. We have prepared delicious rice dumplings for members to share care and blessing. The Society for AIDS Care wishes you to be healthy and with peace of mind!
Before the end of 2021, it’s time for us to celebrate Christmas! This year, with the continued support of M∙A∙C VIVA GLAM, we organized a Christmas celebration on 4 December for our members to get together like one big family. During the Christmas event, lucky draws and exchange gifts sessions were organized for our members. Festive gift bags have been sending to our members after the party. They all enjoyed a happy and fruitful day. We would like to give a big applause and congratulation to M∙A∙C VIVA GLAM entering 27 years of giving back and support people living with HIV/AIDS.
The health talk related to HIV eye health was held at SAC Centre on 26th Nov and the topic was “Magic ways to keep eye healthy”. We are honored to invite Associate Professor Chen Li Jia, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK, to be our guest speaker to introduce common eye diseases including cataract, glaucoma and HIV related eye diseases, including signs and symptoms, investigations and treatment. Visual health is closely related to our daily lives. Our members have benefited a lot from the talk and Professor Chen also encouraged members to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they have symptoms of visual problems.
SAC center held a health talk on 10 November on the topic of knee pain. Physiotherapist discussed the anatomy of the knee joint, common pathologies contributing to knee pain, and treatments options. Modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, interferential therapy, various exercises to stretch, strengthening certain muscle groups and balance training were outlined, with explanations on their effects on our bodies or biomechanics. Last but not least, health tips for knee pain prevention or maintenances were given. We look forward to the balance and lower limbs strengthening exercise group in coming January 2022 to further promote healthy lifestyle to our members in a practical way.
Members from Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS (ACA) visited us on October 29. In addition to taking an overview of our services, they also exchanged views with our staff and PLHIV members on current AIDS services and the strategic development for future plans. We pointed out that there is a special need to promote the importance of HIV prevention and regular testing to women, and the development of services to meet the needs of aging PLHIV.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk related to HIV treatment was held at SAC Centre on 23rd Oct and the topic was “Drug - Drug Interaction”. We are honored to invite Dr Heather To, Senior Medical Officer, from Department of Health to be our guest speaker to introduce the effect and management of medication used in the treatment of HIV and other medical illness. Besides, Dr To reminded us how to avoid drug-drug interactions with HIV treatment and Chinese medicine as well as other supplements. Finally, Dr To recommended us to keep cheerful heart, balanced diet and regular exercise in moderation, which is more beneficial to the body.
Supported by the HSBC Hong Kong Community Partnership Program 2021, a one-year “Together with Love – Holistic Health Support Project” has been officially launched. The first activity, Expressive Art Program 1.0, is led by registered expressive art therapist to facilitate people living with HIV to make artistic creations through different media for expressing their inner suppression due to their illness and COVID-19 epidemic. Participants make use of own creativity in fascinating mask design to express personal feelings and bring encouragement to the community. Art works will be exhibited at the Community Mobile Art Exhibition in November, so stay tuned!
SAC Center has participated in the Project " From Depression to Expression: Arts-based Intervention in Helping Community-Dwelling Depressed Elderly" organized by the Centre of Behavioral Health of the University of Hong Kong with promoting expressive art and mental health for the elderly. Registered expressive art therapist used various means of art including painting, handicrafts, music and body movements to facilitate aging PLHIV in art creation. Through the creation, participants explored self-creativity, expressed personal feelings in the process and established mutual support network to promote their holistic health.
Functional fitness is important to sustain a healthy lifestyle and accomplish everyday tasks, especially for people approaching or in their senior years. Components like strength, flexibility, endurance and balance are assessed; any weaknesses detected can then be advised upon before causing serious functional limitations. Some of the tests used are functional reach test, six-minute walk test, 30 seconds sit to stand, berg balance scale and handgrip strength.
The annual Mid-Autumn Festival celebration of SAC Center was held on 18 September with the theme of “Live in the moment, we walk together”. Due to the extent of the social distancing, around 40 members joined the event. They gathered to participate in the guessing riddles and lucky round Q&A booths arranged by volunteers. Members also enjoyed the games and lucky draws. And for those who could not attend the celebration in persons, to share the joy of the festival, mooncakes and gifts were delivered to their homes. We would like to give a big applause to all sponsors and our private donor for the generous donation of mooncakes and gifts to support our activity.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, a health talk “All about Healthy Aging” was held in SAC Centre on August 21. And we are honored to invite Dr Daphne Lau from Princess Margaret Hospital as our guest speaker. Dr Lau introduced the relationship between HIV infection and various common chronic illness. Dr. Lau pointed out diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis are common chronic illness among aging PLHIV. She encouraged our professional team to pay more attention on our members’ personal conditions and to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic diseases affecting daily life through improving daily habits, diet and exercise.
“Zentangle & Mindfulness” is one of the activities in “Mindfulness-based Mental Health Supportive Programme for People Living with HIV (PLHIV)” sponsored by The Community Chest. Our members learnt to create Zentangle and through the process of stroke by stroke, to put themselves into a state of concentration and relaxation for achieving peace. Zentangle allows our members to break through the established framework and accept different beauty in unlimited creativity. (This project is supported by The Community Chest)
Different types of movies carry different kinds of meanings and inspirations. We believe watching movies is not only an entertainment, but a way to improve quality of life. Therefore, we are now holding a “Movie Screening and Sharing” session once every two weeks for our members, which provides them a platform to relax and reflect. Movies carry various knowledge and trivia that give us uncommon yet interesting topics during social occasions. Besides, scenes that echoes real-life situations can raise our members’ attention towards their inner voice and overlooked needs. Most importantly, movies allow our members to release from pressures and anxieties. They would surely be cheered up to face challenges after getting relief and support from watching movies.
Through the weekly sport gathering activities, regular exercises and interaction among staff and our clients can be achieved. Active participation on ping pong, novuss and Wii-sport can challenge or help maintain our hand-eye coordination and reaction time of limbs.
As a continuation of the “Introduction to core muscles and relevant exercise training” health talk in May, a series of in-depth exercise classes have commenced. First, we arrange core muscles training groups for our members. Participants are divided into different groups according to their needs, specific health advices and exercises can be delivered effectively.
From June to July 2021, SAC Center has launched the "Love Life; Share Love" Project. Professional instructor facilitates our members to create Nagomi pastel art pieces. In addition to learning painting skills, it is far more important for members to discover their personal creativity and review their inner feelings through paintings. Also, members learn to appreciate themselves and others through sharing of artworks. We expect members will share love and hope with others through Nagomi pastel artworks.
Various ways to use exercise band to train different/target muscle groups were taught with the right technique and practiced as strengthening exercises. Members engaged and enjoyed the activity; positive peer interaction was also observed during the process. Warm up and stretching exercises were incorporate into the sessions, to maintain flexibility of limbs and trunk.
At present, antiretroviral therapy is effective in controlling an HIV infection. If the amount of virus in blood is undetectable for at least 6 months, it also means that it is not contagious through sexual contact (Undetectable = Untransmittable; U=U). With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, we are honored to invite Dr. Alfred Sit from Public Health Services Branch of the Department of Health to share the importance of drug adherence on HIV treatment. In addition to being U=U, it also enhances personal immunity and reduces the chance of progressing to AIDS. Dr. Sit also introduced a variety of cancers that are common in middle-aged and elderly with HIV, most of which are related to smoking, unbalanced diet and living habits. Members were encouraged to pay more attention on their personal health and regular physical examinations can help avoid serious complications.
Although COVID-19 pandemic is slightly eased these days, we should stay alter to avoid any sudden changes or silent spread. Therefore, we could not hold a Dragon Boat Feast and make rice dumplings together like the previous years. In order to carry on the tradition of sharing joy and happiness during the festival, we held a Dragon Boat Model Making Class for our members. One of them was invited to be the tutor and taught us how to make a nice and colorful paper dragon boat model. We also prepared a bunch of rice dumplings for the celebration and distributed them during centre activities, home visits and food bank delivery. We wish everyone enjoyed their Dragon Boat Festival.
With the aim of raising awareness and uphold health and well-being of our members, SAC center held a talk on core muscles and exercise training. Physiotherapist introduced specific muscles groups: pelvic floor muscles, core muscles and diaphragm, along with possible implications if weakness or injuries were present. Various exercises to stretch, strengthen and to stabilize core muscles; along with diaphragmic breathing and pelvic floor activation; were explained, demonstrated and practiced during the talk. Good engagements were observed as our members also actively gave them a try. Last but not least, physiotherapist concluded the treatments, preventive measures and acupressure points for any back or trunk discomfort. As a continuation, exercise classes shall be held in the near future to amplify our educational purpose and well-being of our members in a practical level.
With the sponsorships of Gilead Science and GlaxoSmithKline plc, the health talk related to HIV treatment was held at SAC Centre. And the topic was “The Advanced Development of HIV Treatment and overview of new coronavirus vaccine”. We are honored to invite Dr. Thomas Chik, Associate Consultant from Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Princess Margret Hospital, to be our guest speaker to introduce the latest development of the current treatment and the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV (PLHIV) and vaccination considerations. Dr Chik specifically mentioned the assessment principles on choosing new treatment for PLHIV including viral load, drug resistance and side effects, etc. Besides, long-lasting injection treatment for HIV has been developed and under testing overseas and it is hoped this will become another choice for treatment apart from oral pills. Finally, Dr. Chik mentioned foreign research pointed out that the risk of death from PLHIV infected with COVID-19 has not increased significantly. Instead, old age, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are high risk factors. Dr. Chik also stated that PLHIV with new coronary pneumonia have a higher mortality rate and are prone to complications. Therefore, it is recommended that if there are no other risk factors, a new coronavirus vaccine can be used to reduce the risk of infection.
Due to the fluctuation of the pandemic, we have avoided large event and gatherings. To reinforce the connection between members, we held a follow up session for the QualiWalk participants. On that day, participants chit chatted and shared their photos in small groups. Meanwhile, we worked on the photographs and wrote down encouraging messages for decorating the sharing board. The idea of “Live for the day, keep support and company” was spread among our members.
Over time, advanced technology has made our living more convenient and enjoyable. However, it also establishes a sedentary lifestyle which brings negative health effects such as obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps to maintain physical and psychological health. Therefore, we conducted a QualiWalk activity to promote healthy living style. We went to the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui for a walk and encouraged our patient members to develop their own workout schedule. Only by doing so can we live an active and autonomous life.
With the advancement of medical treatment, the life expectancy of people living with HIV (PLHIV) has been extended, but at the same time, they also need to face the aging related health challenges. With the sponsorship of Gilead Science, we are honored to invite Professor Grace Lui from the Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to deliver an online training for our professional nurses and social workers to share her research finding on PLHIV aging and how professional colleagues can provide support. In her sharing, Professor Lui pointed out that aging symptoms appear earlier and the aging speed tends to be faster in PLHIV as compared with general population. PLHIV aged over 60 have more than one chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer show 20% more than those non-PLHIV. As HIV/AIDS service professionals, we can support PLHIV for having a quality aging life through early identification and intervention in aging conditions and establishment of healthy living habits.
Due to COVID-19 affecting gathering of people this year, the annual Mid-Autumn Festival celebration has been canceled. We have prepared a special gift pack for our members with donated mooncakes, household products, anti-epidemic materials and catering to share the joy of the festival. With the theme “Love & Care, We Walk Together”, our members share their blessings on the message board.
SAC is committed to provide professional services to people living with HIV to strengthen their self-care ability, build up their self-confidence, so as to facilitate community reintegration. To achieve our missions, our professional team constantly updates knowledge in HIV care and prevention through latest research and study. With the sponsorship of Gilead Science, we will organize 5 educational seminars for our professional staff. With the insight and knowledge gained from the educational seminars, we are able to deliver better direct care services to our patient members, as well as to share the new medical information and trends with our members.
In shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the supply of epidemic prevention materials, especially surgical mask, is still scarce and expensive in the market. Given the urgent needs and tight supply, our team has sewn handmade reusable fabric masks at the office. Although these masks cannot replace surgical mask, they can be used as a contingency measure. The first batch has already been distributed among our patients and their care-givers.
The epidemic situation of new coronavirus transmission persists, citizens need to keep on paying for anti-epidemic materials and they also face the situation of earning less or unemployment due to poor economic condition. Most of our members are grassroots or with poor physical conditions that made them difficult to find work. The existing environment puts heavy burden on them. Our food bank service provides food support including rice, oil, noodles, and canned food to members in need. We continue to seek resources and hope that interested people can donate anti-epidemic materials or other resources to SAC for supporting more PLHIV. Interested donor can contact Miss Leung at 2559 2006 or email to email@example.com.
The Year of Pig is about to pass. To celebrate the coming of the Year of Rat with blessing, SAC members joined together to prepare “Fei Chun” and made lanterns with red pockets. The meaningful “Fei Chun” and beautiful lanterns will also be sent to those members with difficulties coming to the centre by colleagues for sharing the hope of New Year. Singleton members also enjoyed the reunion gathering with SAC Centre for celebrating Chinese New Year. Let's welcome the New Year with hope and joy, and wish you all have peace in mind and body in the Year of Rat!
The Society for AIDS Care is committed to provide professional services to people living with HIV to strengthen their self-care ability, build up their self-confidence, so as to facilitate full community reintegration. To achieve our missions, our professional team constantly updates knowledge in HIV care and prevention through latest research and study. With the sponsorship of Gilead Science, we have organized 5 educational seminars in 2019 for our professional team and staff. Through the educational seminars, our professional team were able to deliver better direct care services to our patients members, as well as to share the new medical information and trends with our members.
A birthday party celebrating SAC members’ birthday between October and December was held on 19 October. During the autumn days, members took the opportunity to gather together and shared their latest news. This time, we have specially prepared Chinese birthday food including Shou Tao and Red Egg to share warmth and love with each other.
People living with HIV (PLHIV) need to continue taking multiple drugs to control the virus. In addition to the adherence to treatment, at the same time, they need to actively take care of liver and kidney function which may be affected by the side effect of the long-term treatment. The Society for AIDS Care is pleased to invite Dr Jacky Chan, Associate Consultant from Princess Margaret Hospital, to introduce the latest medical treatments for HIV infection to our members on 19 October. He also explained the common side effects of drug treatment including drug metabolism influence on liver and kidney function. Moreover, people who suffer from high blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol level will have irreversible effects on their kidney function. Dr Chan pointed out that it is important to prevent being infected by hepatitis and having fatty liver. Also, he emphasized weight control by taking healthy diet and continuous exercise can help the reverse of fatty liver. He answered members’ enquiries on the examination and health care on liver and kidney function in detail. Through this talk, we expect to encourage our members to keep on healthy living to protect their liver and kidney function from being affected by long term treatment side effects.
The Society for AIDS Care has been funded by The Community Chest for a 3-year “Mindfulness-based Mental Health Supportive Program for People Living with HIV (PLHIV)”. The Program has been launched since August 2019 and it aims at using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Approach and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to provide outreach and centre-based counseling support, training workshops and day centre support service for people living with HIV(PLHIV) and care-givers who are isolated or depressed. Through the counseling service and therapeutic activities, PLHIV and care-givers are encouraged to explore their own internal resources and capabilities to enhance their ability in facing stress and alleviating mental distress, to develop peer support networks and strengthen their confidence in treatment adherence and integrating into the community. (This program is sponsored by The Community Chest of Hong Kong.)
A health talk about osteoporosis was held on 19th September in SAC Centre. Our physiotherapist explained the etiology of osteoporosis and its impact on older life. In the talk, our members participated actively in the discussion and inquired on their concerned area. They not only learned about the information related to the disease, but also understood the importance of physical exercises as well as preventing falls in the elderly. Through this event, we encouraged our members to cultivate regular exercise habit and keep on living with healthy lifestyle in order to slow down the decline of bone density.
The annual Mid-Autumn Festival celebration of SAC Day Center was held on 29 August. More than 80 members gathered together to participate in the game booth arranged by volunteers. Lucky draws and gift pack have been arranged for our members as well. Finally, everyone talked and laughed while enjoying the food at the restaurant and sharing wonderful moment together. And for those who could not attend the celebration in persons, to share the joy of the festival, mooncakes were delivered to their homes. We would like to give a big applause to Maxim’s Group, AQ Bio Technology Group, Metholatum (Asia Pacific) Ltd, Hoi Tin Tong Co. Ltd and our private donor for the generous donation of mooncakes, catering, gifts and lucky draw prizes to support our activity.
High blood sugar, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure (Three Highs) are the common problems faced by most urbanites nowadays. Together with the aging population, “Three Highs” has now become a common chronic illness. With the advancement of HIV treatment, the number of elderly infected people has increased. Due to personal infection status, life status, life styles and eating habits, it is also common for people living with HIV have “Three Highs”. On 20 July 2019, we were honored to invite the registered dietitian from Mannings to share diet tips on ‘Three Highs” with our members and discuss with them about their doubts on the topic. Through this health talk, SAC hopes to encourage members to pay attention to personal health and live a happy life. A birthday party was also held at SAC center to celebrate the birthday stars between July and September. In addition to participating in games and sharing snacks at the birthday party, it is more important to have a good opportunity for the members to gather together and care each other.
As sponsored by Apple Daily Charitable Foundation, ‘From Death to Life- Life Ambassador Project’ has been launched from January 2019 with a series talks, workshops and visits for our members to learn more about hospice and funeral services, preparing their own plans as well as consolidating the importance and good moments in their lives. On 29 June 2019, we were pleased to invite Mr. Pasu Ng to share his experience in life and death education. Mr. Ng is the caretaker of “Silent Teachers” Program and the dissecting laboratory manager in the Faculty of Medicine in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Mr. Ng shared with our members the current arrangements for setting up advance directives in Hong Kong and some special burying forms in local and foreign cities, such as tree burials. SAC members showed interest and learnt a lot in the talk.
SAC Centre aims to enhance patient member’s living skills through various training and volunteers services and further develop mutual support network through helping each other in the community. In order to encourage more patient members to participate in the volunteers programme, our social worker specifically designs training sessions and an evaluation mechanism to assess their performance. In the volunteering sharing session on 17 July, our patient members shared their experiences and expressed that they can contribute their talents to center and community through participating diversified volunteer services. Certificates of excellence were given out as an appreciation for their efforts and we had a discussion on the future development of volunteer service.
As sponsored by Apple Daily Charitable Foundation, “From Death to Life – Life Ambassador Project” has been launched from January 2019 with a series talks, workshops and visits for our members to learn more about hospice and funeral services. On 22 June 2019, we invited Mr. Lok Chung, the in charge of Peace of Mind Funeral Services, to arrange a visit to Wo Hop Shek Cemetery and Crematorium. Mr. Chung used an interesting form and writing, burial mode and architectural design of crematorium, so that our members can understand the funeral service in a relaxed mood and make the most appropriate choice for themselves.
We had a rice dumplings making session with Morgan Stanley volunteers at The Society for AIDS Care Day Center to welcome the Tuen Ng Festival on 24 May. Our HIV/AIDS patient members and Morgan Stanley volunteers gave efforts and helped each other during the session; finally they made 400 rice dumplings just within a few hours. They had the tasteful dumplings together and appreciated so much for their cooperation. The rice dumplings made were also given to other patient members to share the delicious festive food.
As sponsored by Apple Daily Charitable Foundation, ‘From Death to Life – Life Ambassador Project’ has been launched from January 2019 with a series talks, workshops and visits for our members to learn more about hospice and funeral services, preparing their own plans as well as consolidating the importance and good moments in their lives. On 11 May, SAC nurses shared the experiences on support and care for members during terminal stage in their lives including the companionship with members to live through with dignity and bereavement support for care givers. Participants realized the importance of well prepare for death related issues and actively asked questions about various handling matters in the talk.
SAC Centre celebrating member’s birthday between April and June on 11 May. The members were so excited to participate in the event games and sent blessings to the birthday stars in the party. The party was a good time for members to meet up. Everyone enjoyed the snacks prepared by the center, talked and laughed, and had a beautiful weekend.
As sponsored by Apple Daily Charitable Foundation, ‘From Death to Life – Life Ambassador Project’ has been launched from January 2019 with a series talks, workshops and visits for our members to learn more about hospice and funeral services, preparing their own plans as well as consolidating the importance and good moments in their lives. Following the talks on funeral arrangement and visit to various funeral facilities, we have invited Mr. Mak Hong Min as a guest speaker to deliver a talk on the preparation for will making and relevant legislation on estate arrangement on 13 April. Mr. Mak used a relaxed approach and shared experience in handling cases, making it easier for members to understand and actively asked questions. Participants benefited a lot in the talk.
Workers from St. James’ Settlement introduced the logistic in funeral arrangement and the matters needing attention such as the difference in the documents required for cremation or burial on 23 March. They also introduced the newly developed electronic tombstone service. Moreover, information on the Funeral Navigation Service and other related services have been shared as to give more support to those single without family members or old couples live alone on arranging their after death matters so as to alleviate their worries on this issue.
In March 2019, we have invited Funeral Navigation Service from St. James' Settlement to arrange two activities for SAC members. On 2 March, our members went to the Diamond Hill Crematorium, Tseung Kwan O Cemetery and a Changsheng Store to visit various funeral facilities including the farewell hall, burial ground, columbarium niches, Gardens of Remembrance and the categories of Chinese and Western coffins and eco-coffin. During the visit, members had more understanding on the environment of the funeral facilities and know more about the green burial. Members also shared their views and feeling on different burial choices.
With the advancement in the treatment for HIV, the life expectancy of people living with HIV (PLHIV) has been prolonged and the number of aging PLHIV is also rising. Separation and death are inevitable in our lives. PLHIV are often unable to seek assistance from social resources because of their personal infection status and fear of being discriminated in the community. In particular, they or their care-givers will have difficulties and worries in funeral arrangement related to the issue of infectious condition. As sponsored by Apple Daily Charitable Foundation, ‘From Death to Life – Life Ambassador Project’ has been organized with a series talks, workshops and visits for our members to learn more about hospice and funeral services, preparing their own plans as well as consolidating the importance and good moments in their lives. The project was launched in January 2019. We were very honored to have Mr Lok Chung, the in charge of Peace of Mind Funeral Services, to introduce the culture and service of funeral arrangement in the first talk. Mr. Chung shared information on funeral rituals related to Chinese culture, funeral arrangement and green funeral service. Members were very enthusiastic about asking questions, sharing their experience and feelings related to death of relatives and friends, and their expectation on their own funeral arrangement.
Spring comes, slightly cool and warm, it is a good day to reunite with friends. SAC Center also filled with joyful atmosphere. More than 20 members gathered together for celebrating the joy with members born between January and March. They participated in games, shared snacks and chit chat happily for a wonderful weekend.
Studies have shown that mindfulness can help people to relax and improve sleep quality. It can also help reduce negative emotions, anxiety and symptoms of depression. People living with HIV are often prone to anxiety and depression because of worrying their own physical condition and fear of being discriminated by society. On 23 February, SAC Centre organized a workshop introducing mindfulness and practising the techniques together. In the workshop, through breathing practice, members learnt to observe the changes in the body, emotions and thoughts at that moment and experience the benefits of mindfulness. Now, SAC Centre conducts a mindfulness learning group every week for members to participate in various exercises and sharing experiences, so as to cultivate the habit of continuous practicing mindfulness and integrate it into life.
The Year of the Dog is about to pass and while we are preparing to celebrate the Chinese New Year, SAC singleton members also celebrated with our big family together. In addition, we invited members to make “Fai Chun” with their brilliant Chinese calligraphy skills for bringing the New Year's greetings to the center and other members! The blessing written on Fai Chun with special floral pattern expresses happiness and joy. The Fai Chun has also been sent by colleagues to the members at home to share the happiness of the New Year with them. We wish everyone will be happy and healthy in the Year of the Pig!
The Society for AIDS Care is the only organization that provides 100% successful Prevention Mother-to-child Treatment (PMTCT) of HIV in Hong Kong. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is when an HIV-infected woman passes the virus to her baby, so called vertical transmission. This can occur during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or breastfeeding. Without treatment, around 15%-30% of babies born to HIV-infected women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery. A further 5%-20% will become infected through breastfeeding.
Therefore, additional prevention measures are necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. We implement a series of key interventions as a component of overall maternal, newborn and child health services. Initially we offer appropriate counseling and support to women living with HIV to enable them to make informed decisions about their reproductive lives. Then earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive mothers is recommended. As long as their quantity of HIV antibodies is undetectable, delivery could be given. Followed by the birth of child, we recommend the avoidance of breastfeeding and prolonged use of ARVs to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to the rate of 1%.
The aim of SAC counseling service is to provide remedial and protective service to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and their families in crisis. It also promotes healthy lifestyle, positive mental and sexual health to the PLHIV. The service covers all geographical regions in Hong Kong.
In view of the diverse nature of our cases in terms of age, family background, health condition and nationality, the counseling service adopts a flexible approach. The counseling intervention includes parent-child relationship, couples’ relationship, safer sex bargaining skill and emotional problem for those in needs.
All service recipients are referred by the clinics of Department of Health and other NGOs. Prior to the formal intake of new referred case, the case will be assessed by our professional service worker and followed by case meeting with supervisor and other service team members. In the beginning, most of the new clients are lack of confidence and hesitate on sharing with our counselor. This situation is very common because of poor self-perception and bad experiences in the past. Thus, careful monitoring is essential to minimize the negative feeling of clients. When the client builds up a mutual reliance with our counselor, treatment goal will be set.
Successful implementation of the service helps to alleviate pain, build up positive attitude and serve an important role of promoting the importance of safe sex in preventing secondary infection of HIV/AIDS.
The empowerment project facilitates PLHIV to develop their potentials, and aims to encourage self-development, enhancement of social/communication skills and improvement of knowledge in HIV/AIDS. Participants will be trained to become volunteers at the SAC center and provide voluntary services to other PLHIV in the community. Volunteers expressed their improvement in their perceived capabilities and self-esteem, which get them ready to go back to the community.
The comprehensiveness and diversity of the services can provide more opportunities to volunteers with different abilities. The service has gained good reputation among the service providers and recipients. Volunteers expressed that their self-esteem were enhanced and they have managed to develop better understanding of HIV/AIDS. The skills they gained from the program enabled them to recognize their limitations, hence preparing themselves to be more equipped for the future.
All of the volunteers agreed that the empowerment project bring them more chances to help others and their lives had become more meaningful. Furthermore, they also gained friendship and improved communication skills after attending the training sessions. SAC center advocates the importance of the spirit of volunteering to serve the less privileged.
1. Personalized service: answered by female professionals, lessen embarrassment
2. One-stop service: pre-test and post-test counseling, referral, etc.
3. Anonymous and confidential
4. Free voluntary HIV and Syphilis testing in private clinic, high privacy
5. Follow up by professional team, and refer to specialist clinic if needed
6. Services provide to HK permanent residents
SAC seeks funding from government and other funding bodies to sustain our Food Bank, a patient support program aiming to meet tangible needs. Our Food Bank and other support items provide necessities for PLHIV, including food, oil, etc. This program is tailored especially for low-income family, cases under social welfare benefits or those unable to support themselves.
Please click here to download the donation form to support our Food Bank service.