The Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) has been providing subsidies for medication and emotional support to AIDS sufferers for the past 18 years. On the 3rd December 2016, the organization received the Red Ribbon Award from Action For AIDS (AFA) at the 10th Singapore AIDS Conference (SAC).
There were five winners this year, of which two were organizational awards and three were individual awards. The other organization that also received the award was the Catholic AIDS Response Effort (C.A.R.E.).
Since the close of 1998, when the issue of AIDS started gaining traction among the local populace, Tzu Chi too started paying attention to the topic, and the following year, accepted its first AIDS beneficiary referred by the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC). Medical social worker from the centre He Li Ping expressed her gratitude to Tzu Chi saying, "Tzu Chi has walked a long way with us over the years and we are very grateful."
In addition, Tzu Chi volunteers make monthly visits to incarcerated AIDS inmates, giving them encouragement and care. They share Jing Si Aphorisms with inmates and teach them positive thinking, with the aim to help them regain confidence in life. As of December 2015, Tzu Chi has extended medical subsidies to 557 AIDS inmates totalling more than S$2.65 million.
He Li Ping expressed that Tzu Chi not only provides financial aid to the AIDS inmates, but also gives much-needed spiritual encouragement to them and their families.
The high cost of AIDS treatment is a common problem that AIDS sufferers face and He, a committee member of the 10th Singapore AIDS Conference feels that Tzu Chi's subsidies for AIDS medication go a long way towards helping these sufferers, giving them the means to carry on for the sake of their family.
The 10th Singapore AIDS Conference was held at the National University Health System and jointly organized by the Institute of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology (IIDE）and AFA. The conference aimed to sum up information on the latest research, developments and goals in the field of AIDS prevention over the last two years.