Cover Dayang Nurfaiza performing at the Red Ribbon Gala at Hilton Kuala Lumpur (Photo: Imran Sulaiman/Tatler Malaysia)

The Malaysian AIDS Foundation's signature black-tie fundraiser raised RM1.5million for HIV treatment programmes, honouring those making strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Malaysia through the Sunway-MAF Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award 2021 *Face masks were removed for photography

After a one-year hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic, The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) Red Ribbon Gala made its spectacular return in December 2021, raising RM1.5million to help underprivileged Malaysians living with HIV gain access to live-saving antiretroviral treatments.

In her speech, MAF chairman Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman revealed that the foundation was getting closer to its goal to end AIDS in Malaysia by 2030, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Related: Dato' Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman: Lessons From The Covid-19 Frontline

“We are accelerating our AIDS mission as we rebound from Covid-19, which has only reminded us of the grim reality of the early years of the AIDS pandemic when treatment was wishful thinking," she said.

“Thanks to 40 years of scientific progress, we now have the most powerful tool—the antiretroviral treatment—that can turn the tide on HIV/AIDS for good. It is therefore imperative that we continue to place treatment at the core of our response.”

The foundation’s signature black tie fundraiser was officiated by Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and graced by other prominent figures including MAF Patron Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, MAF executive director Jasmin Jalil, Sunway Group chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah and more.

“Continued access to antiretroviral treatment significantly improves protection from Covid-19 for people living with HIV, and this is the immediate priority as we continue to grapple with the impact of the pandemic,” said Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir in her speech.

This year’s Sunway-MAF Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Award (in collaboration with MAF’s official Sustainability Partner, Sunway Group) went to Terengganu State Health Department AIDS officer Dr Mahani Nordin, who was hailed for her efforts to lead and sustain the local community response to HIV/AIDS. During the ceremony, Nordin was presented with a RM20,000 cash prize, a certificate of excellence and a custom-made crystal trophy by Sunway Group.

To continue the evening on a high note, special performances by artistes and Red Ribbon Supporters Dayang Nurfaizah, Bob Yusof and Vince Chong commenced as guests enjoyed a fine dinner spread by Hilton Kuala Lumpur.

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