OUR VISION AND MISSION

Vision
•  Lighting the path to a brighter future.
•  Remove stigma and discrimination.
•  Equality and justice for clients and families.


Values

•  Justice and integrity for those in our care and their families.
•  Provide support for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) to gain self-confidence of their condition and lead a positive life-style.



Mission.


Respect the dignity of everyone regardless of their status. Everyone has the right for treatment, care and support. Strive at all times to be courteous, understanding, and compassionate to reduce suffering by:

1. Providing holistic care:

a. Attentive to the needs of the client and family.
b. Attending to their physical, psychological and spiritual aspect in their lives.
c. Attaining healing, harmony and inner peace.

2. Excellence in care:

a. Provide a warm, welcoming and peaceful atmosphere in our organisation.
b. Provide an environment conducive towards peace and physical comfort.
c. Provide quality care of the highest standards of excellence and professionalism.

 


 

OUR HISTORY

CASP “SHARING THE CHALLENGE” OF AIDS PREVENTION IN PENANG SINCE 1989

MALAYSIA AND HIV / AIDS

In 1992, Malaysia had a total estimated population of 18 million, made up of approximately 61% Malays, 30% Chinese and 8% Indian. More than 42% of the population fell into the 15 - 39 year age group.

In the early 90's, Malaysia's economy was booming but was short of labor work force. A 1990 survey found out that the manufacturing sector alone was short of between 50,000 to 80,000 workers, while the Malaysian Agricultural Producers Association stated that plantation output could drop by one third if foreigners were to leave to fill the gap. Thousands of workers were coming for work in Malaysia, both legally and illegally, from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines including other less developed countries in Asia. Although the numbers were probably small, there were frequent articles in the press about immigrant sex workers, particularly those from Thailand. More than 3.8 million tourists visited Malaysia in 1991.

Malaysia recognized that it had a serious problem with drug addiction. In 1991, there were reports of more than 100,000 injecting drug users, most favoring heroin. To control the situation, Malaysia inflicted severe penalties for found of drug use and had retained the sentence of death for trafficking.

The first AIDS case in Malaysia was detected in December, 1986. A proactive surveillance program launched in 1989 to screen injecting drug users in Government correctional centers and medical institutions, resulted in an apparent sharp rise in HIV positive cases around that time. In January 1991, there were 750 officially-reported cases of HIV infection in the country and 19 people suffering from AIDS. By August 1992, the figure rose to 3,735 HIV positive people, while the number of AIDS cases had risen to a total of 60, which whom 40 had died. Between those identified as HIV positive, the largest proportion were frequent injecting drug users, even though blood donor screening had detected an annual doubling in the incidence rate of HIV infection since 1987.

As reports of AIDS in Asia appeared in the news, Malaysian papers carried articles under headings such as “Killer Disease Found in Malaysia” and “Man Gets AIDS in Hospital through Blood Mix-up”. Widespread fear and a lack of clear information resulted in misunderstandings and misapprehensions about HIV transmission. Blood banks in many hospitals ran dry as donors stayed away for fear of contracting AIDS. Published figures on HIV infection rates among the Thai sex workers led to local newspaper articles and letters condemning promiscuous behaviour and calls for the Government to test all suspected prostitutes for HIV infection, to close down ‘vice dens' and to prevent HIV positive foreigners from entering the country. The Ministry of Health, aware of both the facts of HIV transmission and the experiences of other countries in their efforts to stem infection rates, was making efforts to educate the public. The Ministry was also supporting NGOs in their HIV/AIDS efforts, providing such organizations like the Pink Triangle, with technical assistance and AIDS education materials. But the argument that ‘Prevention was more important than human rights' was being forcibly made, and in the late 1991, the Ministry was directed by the Cabinet to study various proposals to contain the epidemic.

 

THE LAUNCH OF THE COMMUNITY AIDS SERVICE PENANG

During 1989, some individuals in Penang began to discuss the HIV/AIDS situation in the country. Some already had direct experience of trying to help individuals who were concerned about their HIV status and were seeking blood tests. Others had seen the fear and discrimination faced by those identified as HIV positive. Public education at that time was focused on the need to avoid sexual contact with those from “high-risk groups". This gave a false sense of security to people outside of those groups, whilst providing little practical information on how to protect against infection to those who did see themselves as being at risk.

In November 1989, CASP was launched with seven founding members, drawn from the University (both Malaysian citizens and expatriate faculty on contract), the Penang Family Planning Association (FPA), and other private sector organizations. All were volunteers to CASP, holding full-time jobs elsewhere. The group agreed on its aims and objectives as stated below:-

1. To provide information on HIV and AIDS prevention to the public.

2. To promote the awareness and practice of safer sex.

3. To encourage changes of behaviours and habits which are likely to lead to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) infection.

4. To facilitate confidential AIDS testing services.

5. To provide confidential and free counselling on AIDS and on AIDS-related issues, including AIDS test follow-up counselling.

6. To provide telephone counselling services.

7. To devise specific information and education strategies on AIDS prevention related to high-risk behaviours.

8. To cooperate with the Malaysian Government, National and International organizations.

9. To promote Malaysian strategies on AIDS to be fully consonant with international efforts.

10. To work against the stigmatization and discrimination of people with AIDS (PWAs) and people living and/or associated with them.

11. To uphold the rights of PWAs to employment, housing, insurance and all other basic human rights.

12. To promote the availability of the access to necessary medical services for PWAs.

13. To facilitate shelter and other forms of support services for PWAs.

14. To recruit and train volunteers for the organisation.

15. To raise funds through grants and donations and other fund-raising activities for the purpose of carrying out the above aims and objectives.

Thus CASP submitted their constitution for formal registration with the Registrar of Societies. Until registration was formally granted, an organization could not conduct fund-raising activities or receive external funding. By early 1992, the application to register CASP with the Registrar of Societies had been approved. Once registered, CASP would have to submit annual reports to the Registrar of Societies including the minutes of its Committee meetings, the total number of paid-up members, and audited financial statements.


THE FIRST THREE YEARS

AIDS Education for the General Public

CASP's first HIV/AIDS education activities were carried out in conjunction with the Penang FPA in various factories, schools and youth groups. CASP members are also provided a ready entry to the university for AIDS prevention talks to both staff and students.

November 1989, FPA also saw the beginning of CASP's collaboration with the Pink Triangle Malaysia when the latter visited Penang to provide an educational show at a local nightclub. 1989, which was also the first year that CASP participated in World AIDS Day activities. In the year 1991, World AIDS Day CASP set up a stall at the Penang ferry terminal, selling books on AIDS, CASP key rings and T-shirts whilst giving out free pamphlets. Wherever CASP sees the need, CASP has produced its own informative materials, including posters, leaflets and instructions on proper condom use. To offset some of its costs and as a means of advertising CASP services, key-rings, pens and T-shirts have been printed and sold.

 


Old logo : 1989 - 30.11.2013

Letter ‘C' refers to Community, letter ‘A' refers to AIDS, letter ‘S' refers to Service, while letter ‘P' refers to Penang. Letter ‘C', ‘S', and ‘P' are red, while letter ‘A' is substituted by a red ribbon which symbolises ‘AIDS'. The box colored white. Colors are chosen based on the red ribbon. The inner red is colored white which symbolises hope for people suffering from HIV/AIDS.


New Logo : 1.12.2013

Meaning
When people are drowning with HIV / AIDS, CASP reaches out giving a helping hand.

Shape
Shield / Fortress represents CASP as an organisation that protects People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and a place that is free from stigma and discrimination.

 

Water/ Wave
Symbolises drowning or difficulty faced in life by PLHIV.

Red Ribbon
Universal symbol for HIV/AIDS. Awareness and Support for those living with HIV/AIDS.

Hand
Symbolises the meaning of offering help/ reaching out.

Color
Red is the universal color for HIV/AIDS.
White represents purity and sincerity to help the most marginalised group in society.

Wordings
CASP stands for Community AIDS Service Penang and it brings along the struggles and challenges it has been through to be where it is today.

Touching lives since 1989 – an organisation that has offered help to PLHIVs since its establishment in 1989 and marching on with greater dedication and commitment.

 

Hotline for AIDS Information and Counselling

In March and April 1990, Pink Triangle Malaysia provided Hotline Counseling training for CASP members and a few student volunteers from the university. By October that year, a telephone had been installed in the home of one of the members and a roster of members and volunteers drawn up to man the hotline from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm every Tuesday and Thursday. Some members already had previous counseling experience, and at the start of the hotline service, a newly-trained counselor would be paired with someone more experienced. CASP was careful to restrict the extent of the Hotline service to a level that it felt if could consistently maintain.

Advertisements for the Hotline were placed in the local newspaper, but frequently they were withdrawn by the newspaper after the first appearance. Subsequently, as CASP began to produce its own HIV/AIDS information materials, it always included details of the hotline service and number. Hotline details were also given out at all of CASP's AIDS education talks and events. Calls to the hotline tended to increase whenever news about HIV/AIDS was prominent in the media. During quiet times, few if any calls were received. Most of the calls were requested for factual information about HIV/AIDS; a few callers have discussed their personal concerns. Two further training sessions on telephone counseling were held in 1991. Before the second programme, CASP placed an advertisement in the paper calling for volunteers to attend the training and to help man the hotline. Several people did apply and joined the training, but very few of them subsequently became active volunteers.

Pre and Post HIV Test Counselling

In early 1991, whilst building on the Hotline training, CASP members decided to offer counseling for those who were considering taking HIV test, to refer them to a private laboratory for confidential testing, to accompany them to the test, and to offer further counseling at the time of the test result. Up till August 1992, although some individuals had made the decision to seek an HIV test, few had actually turned up for their appointment at the laboratory. CASP was also concerned that it had not yet been able to identify a suitably trained and sympathetic doctor to whom individuals who tested HIV positive could be referred for any necessary treatment.

AIDS Education for Hotel Staff

In 1991, one CASP member whose husband provided her with access to Penang Hoteliers' Association, was able to discuss the implications of HIV infection at one of the Association's meetings. Afterwards, she made contact with individual hotel managers and one of them agreed to allow CASP to talk to their managers and staff. Hearing of the success of this first talk, other hotel managers then requested CASP's help, and by the end of 1991, CASP had visited each of the major hotels in Penang. These hotels had a very high staff turnover. CASP was aware that AIDS education talks would have to be repeated frequently, but a shortage of experienced members was a problem in sustaining this program. CASP was also instrumental in persuading the hotels to install condom vending machines in both the gents and the ladies washrooms. This was a major step since, until that time, condoms could only be obtained through private pharmacies or, if the client was married, through the family planning programme at Government and FPA facilities.

The hotel staff education programme led to another opportunity for CASP, this time to reach young people through the hotel discotheques. CASP members used their own children to help them recruit a number of youngsters willing to talk to their peers. CASP provided them with information about HIV transmission and prevention and then accompanied them into the discos where they shared this information and distributed leaflets and condoms.

Sex Worker Outreach Programme

In August 1992, CASP had just started an outreach programme for sex workers on the streets of Penang. Once a week, a small team of members would visit the working area of the female prostitutes and transvestites to distribute leaflets and free condoms to both the sex workers and their clients. The sex workers and the CASP members were gradually building recognition and trust, which CASP hoped would lead to more open information exchange and permit the development of other support programmes for this group.

CASP AS AN ORGANISATION

By August 1992, only one of the founding members was still with CASP as most members had moved away from Penang.

However, new individuals had filled their places and CASP had a total of 50 individuals on their mailing list, of whom 20 were paid-up and active members. The recent annual members meeting had elected a new nine-member Committee and the appointees were busy considering strategies for the future.

The amount of work, both programmes and administrative, was large for a small group of volunteers to deal with in the evenings and weekends. As such CASP felt the need for full-time staff.

In January 1992, CASP felt it was necessary to move its operations out of members' homes into a proper office and had managed to find a landlord willing to rent to them.

The following are some of the addresses from where CASP operated:-

1994 - 18-P, Jalan Kampung Melayu, 11500 Air Itam, Pulau Pinang

1995 - 22, Lorong Lembah Permai 3, 11200 Tanjong Bungah, Pulau Pinang

1995 - 57, Jalan Macalister, 10850 Pulau Pinang

1999 - C05 & C06, Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Jalan Utama, Penang

2002 - 35, Western Gardens, 10450 Penang

2006 - 46, Jalan Thomas, 11600 Penang

Since its establishment in 1989, CASP which is a broad-based non-government volunteer organisation helps to prevent the further spread of HIV and to provide emotional support to people living with AIDS. The following are some of our activities:

Information and referral service.

Outreach to sex workers on the Island and Mainland.

Outreach to youth.

AIDS education in the community (Schools, Work Place, Organizations, Estates etc).

Training for community educators and counseling on AIDS for volunteers, teachers, health workers and other interested people.

Emotional support for PLWHAs, their families and friends.

Shelter Home to provide help, care and counseling.