Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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HIV and Islam conference

31
OCT
2012

Aids Alliance

The first ever HIV and Islam conference is to be held in Malaysia, 19 to 21 November.

Our Linking Organisation, the Malaysian AIDS Council is an official partner of the event, which will see Islamic and none Islamic scholars, scientists and practioners discuss best practice in a range of interventions including needle exchange, circumcision and stigma reduction.

In Malaysia 70% of the 79,855 people living with HIV are Muslims, the vast majority of which are men who have become infected by sharing needles. The conference will showcase work carried out by conference organisers the Department of Islamic Development in Malaysia (JAKIM) to improve the response for Muslims living with HIV in the country.

For discussion will be JAKIM’s HIV and Islam manual, which was produced with guidance from MAC. The manual is designed to guide Muslim authorities of all levels to extol tolerance and acceptance of Muslims living with HIV and those most at risk to it.

In 2010, a pilot project was set up at Ar Rahman mosque in Kuala Lumpur to allow people to receive free methadone there alongside ‘psychospiritual support’, which sees clients given instruction on prayers and ablutions before receiving their prescription. The programme had a one year retention rate of 90%, well above the recommended World Health Organisation target of 40-50%.

You can see a gallery of images from the programme below (click each image for more information).


Although the Ar Rahman project has now ended it appears to have inspired a Hindu faith-based group to adopt a similar intervention through the Hinduism Empowerment in Addiction Rehabilitation and Treatment programme, suggesting that faith based HIV responses are becoming more acceptable in Malaysia.

Useful links

Find out more about the conference here

Read more about the HIV and Islam manual