Formed in 1988, Action for AIDS (AfA) is a voluntary community based organization and a registered charity since 7 October 1994. We are also a registered IPC under the Ministry of Health from 15 December 2004. Our objectives are to provide support and assistance to persons living with HIV and AIDS (PWAs); to increase awareness, education and understanding of AIDS and HIV infection; to combat discrimination and stigmatisation of (PWAs) and their loved ones; and to encourage AIDS-related research activities in Singapore.
The organization is run for the most part by volunteers. Various support and welfare programmes are run for people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones.
Our educational activities range from telephone counselling, public talks and exhibitions, and outreach to the community and target groups, which includes the development and distribution of educational materials and publications.
We were also the first to operate a HIV-testing facility in the Singapore.
In the research field we have been involved in behavioral research and intervention programmes for human resource managers, sex workers and other communities.
Action for AIDS is funded through donations from various agencies, private individuals, foundations, and businesses both large and small.
"Action for AIDS (AFA) is a caring NGO committed to AIDS prevention, advocacy and support. Our mission is to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS through continuous education targeted at vulnerable groups; to advocate for access to affordable care and against HIV/AIDS discrimination; and to provide support for PWAs, caregivers and volunteers."
Attaining the Mission
- Coordinate efforts in minimizing discrimination in issues relating to AIDS/HIV infection.
- Liaise with other agencies of similar orientation in the exchange of information and knowledge with regards to AIDS/HIV infection.
- Raise and disperse funds to carry out the objectives of the society.
- Receive and hold donated properties and assets.
- Set up and manage an endowment fund.
- Undertake any other activities as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.
Time Capsule of AfA Important Events and Milestones - 1988 to 2007
- 30 November - Action for AIDS Singapore is registered with the Registry of Societies.
- 1 December first ever World AIDS Day (WAD) - Charity Jukebox in Centrepoint sponsored and organized by the Body Shop. It featured top local entertainers in a fund raising and awareness event.
- March - First public AIDS forum held to inform and to recruit members. It was sponsored by Wellcome Pharmaceuticals. Over 50 people attended the 3-hour session.
- September - AIDS and Safer Sex Fortnight. This was the first nation-wide AIDS campaign, and it targeted young, sexually-active people with the aim of disseminating information on "safer-sex" methods and condom use. Over 70,000 educational pamphlets were distributed to members of the public at various night spots, pharmacies, gyms, tertiary institutions, public exhibitions and lectures.
- A specially designed T-shirt featuring the signatures of over 30 celebrities from the fields of entertainment, sports and fashion was produced for fund raising. These T-shirts were sold in department stores, boutiques, hair salons and other private outlets. Over $10,000 was raised from the sale of the T-shirts. - 23rd November to 3 December 1989.
- WAD - The "Youth, Sexuality and AIDS" forum was held at the College of Medicine Building Auditorium. This featured lectures followed by a lively discussion on topics ranging from birth control measures, HIV antibody testing to sexuality. Over 250 people attended.
- Theatreworks presented the "Safer- Sex" Doublebill, the first ever locally staged drama dealing with AIDS at the Drama Centre.
- April - AIDS Mastery Workshop conducted by visiting Australian experts.
- The Gay Outreach Programme targeted the vulnerable male homosexual and bisexual community. These private events were held in an informal and non-didactic fashion to inform the audience on AIDS, and to encourage the group to adopt safe sexual practices. The sessions included tea parties, dance parties, sketches, plays and games, were very well attended. Risk Reduction Workshops worked in tandem with the Outreach programme. The workshop was divided into four once-weekly sessions of 2 hours each.
- The Home Visit/Counselling Service (HVS) was started to alleviate the financial and emotional burden of AIDS patients by providing care at home especially for those PWAs who required prolonged hospitalisation. Volunteers made home-visits and hospital visits to needy patients and helped with nursing care and provided emotional support.
- AIDS Medication Funding to alleviate the financial burden of needy patients and to introduce up-to-date methods of AIDS-related therapy was started. This project funded aerosolised pentamidine and pneumococcal vaccine.
- WAD - A public symposium on "Women and AIDS" featured six eminent panelists who spoke on the AIDS epidemic - Global and Regional, Women and Sexuality and Control Measures in Singapore.
Advertisements on Women and AIDS, and Safer Sex were included in local newspapers, magazines, periodicals and internationally circulated publications.
Our first AIDS awareness song by Chris Ho. 10,000 cassettes of the song were distributed free of charge through a weekly entertainment magazine and bookstores.
- The AIDS Educational/Awareness Video "Someone I Used To Know". This play was written by local playwright Chay Yue and featured many prominent theatre actors, crew and backstage personnel. The video was distributed free to schools and youth organizations and featured a second AIDS awareness song by Mark Chan.
- May - International AIDS candlelight Memorial and Mobilisation. Over 100 people attended this 1st AIDS candlelight Memorial in Singapore.
- August - Fund-Raising Concert by Boy George in Zouk. Three thousand AIDS education postcards bearing photo-art works by 2 prominent local photographers were distributed at the door.
- August - NUS Students' Union Orientation Programme - AIDS was the theme of the year's Orientation Programme of the NUSSU. The NUSSU banquet was attended by BG Lee Hsien Loong, and attracted media publicity when there were plans to distribute condoms at the door.
- November - the Anonymous AIDS Counselling and HIV Test Centre in DSC Clinic, Kelantan Lane starts operation.
- WAD - "Sharing the Challenge". - 5,000 postcards, buttons, and tee shirts bearing the slogan "My Body Is Responsible" were distributed along Orchard Road.
The first issue of the AfA newsletter "The ACT" launched.
- The Malay Language Committee was formed to encourage discussions with community and religious groups, and to provide lectures and counselling sessions to Malay speaking public.
- The "HIV in the Workplace" (HEW) Project was started to tackle issues arising from HIV in the workplace, and to produce educational material for workplace education.
- "Buddies and Friends" (previously the Home & Hospital Care Service) formed to enhance support and counseling sevives for PWAs and families.
- Advocacy and Legal Aid - AfA's legal volunteers banded together to provide legal advice and assistance.
- Buyer's Club - Our volunteers were able to privately bring in medications from treatment centres in the developed countries like Australia.
- AfA organised two large fund-raising galas in 1992 viz - April - the CLAUDE MONTANA fashion show and NAMES Project and Gala dinner - GOH was Mr Yeo Cheow Tong - May - the KENZO fashion show and gala dinner - GOH was BG George Yeo.
- WAD - The 3rd AIDS awareness song "Save Sex" by Chris Ho was released for WAD 1992. - WAD Dance Party - 28 November 1992.
Dance Party - 28 November 1992 - This was a first for Singapore. Organised by two individuals at Ding- Dong A-Go-Go in Bugis Village, the party attracted over 400 guests and celebrities.
"Walk for Life"- WAD Walk - 29 November - Wellcome Pharmaceuticals in its first "Positive Action" programme in Singapore organised a 5 km walk. Over $21,000 was raised.
"The Rubberball" was a gala evening featuring many of Singapore's top entertainers, musicians and actors in a variety show comprising of songs, dancers and sketches. Over $80,000 was raised. The GOH was DPM Mr Ong Teng Cheong.
- "Life Goes On" (LGO) peer support group for PWAs set up.
- The AfA Research Grants funded the following projects - Developing Negotiation Skills in condom use among female prostitutes - Drs Wong Mee Lian, Roy Chan and David Koh (NUH/NSC); Survey on HIV in the Workplace - Drs Andre Wan and Douglas Ong (AfA); Study on Physician Awareness and Knowledge of HIV infection in Singapore - Drs Lam Mun San, Wong Sin Yew, David Allen and Chew Suok Kai (CDC).
- The Women & AIDS Committee was set up to make women more aware of their risks of contracting HIV infection.
- September - Informal consultative meeting organised by UNDP/AfA on Law, HIV and Ethics. This first such meeting in Singapore was attended by representatives from the AIDS Task Force, the Attorney-General's Chambers, AWARE, the Law Faculty of NUS, SPPA, the CID, MOH, SAWL, SNEF and the UNDP and AfA.
- September - "Never on a Sunday" a Carnival at Jiak Kim Street, Zouk Carpark, raised over $12,000.
- WAD - "Walk-for-Life" organised by Wellcome Pharmaceuticals along Orchard Road raised over $30,000. - AIDS Seminars in NTU, PA, SAF - AIDS Exhibition in Centrepoint.
- March - Charity Film Premiere "Philadelphia" - raised over $170,000.
- 21 April - AfA registered as an IPO as a member of the MOH Health Endowment Fund.
- May - We move into our first rented premises at 62B Race Course Road.
- 7 October - AfA registered as a charity.
- WAD - AIDS Telephone Helpline launched.
Island-wide "Charity Treasure Hunt on Wheels" -
Plays cum Talk Shows "Lets Talk 90s" in DBS Auditorium, in English, Malay and Chinese.
Concert and Party in Zouk.
- HIV Education in the Workplace (HEW) had its most active year with training courses and over 20 talks to more than 3000 people.
- April - Charity Movie Premiere of "Pret-a-Porter", part of the 8th Singapore International film Festival.
- April - AIDS awareness song - "Redo Renew" by Dick Lee -
- Charity Movie Premier "The Cure", organised by the Medical Society and Club of the NUS. GOH - MP Dr Michael Lim
- WAD - AIDS Workshop, Four Seasons Hotel
Charity Concert, Hard Rock Cafe featured performances by a host of local artistes and auction of celebrity memorabilia.
AIDS Walk - Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza
- The Red Ribbon Awards was a painting competition with the theme "Art Against AIDS". Winning entries were exhibited in the Suntec City Mall, Parco Bugis Junction and the Substation, reaching out to an audience of thousands.
- The Gay Outreach Project was restarted with several projects including Karaoke contests, a boat cruise, a concert in Fort Canning Park and parties in the Boom Boom Room, the Velvet underground and in Studebakers.
- AfA was adopted by RCS Radio One as official charity for 1996.
- WAD - AIDS Walk 96 - Over 2,000 participants registered for the walk which was the most successful to date.
- The Street Walker Project (SWP) was the first collaborative project between AfA and MOH and Department of STI Control.
- A full time administrator Benedict Jacob Thambiah came on board.
- September - The Charity Gala in Tribute to Princess Diana organized by Club 21 raised close to $900,000 and the money has been channeled to the Endowment Fund. The aim of the fund is to assist needy patients with medication subsidies.
- WAD - AIDS Walk - Millennia Walk
Rubberball 1997 - Zouk
Charity Film Premiere "The Jackal"
- Subsidies for anti-HIV medications for patients was launched.
- The second anonymous HIV testing site was started in mid 1998 operating through a private medical clinic in Tanglin Shopping Centre.
- February - Charity movie premiere - "In & Out"
- May - "Passing the Bucks" was the first AIDS charity run. It attracted significant interest from the public, and was flagged off by Senior Minister of Health Dr Aline Wong.
- The Juicy Parties at Zouk and Velvet Underground reached out to the younger party going set, AIDS awareness was spread through distribution of IEC materials and free condoms.
- 1st Singapore AIDS Conference "Facing the Challenge in Singapore" - on 12 December 1998 at the SICEC in Suntec City was the first multisectorial conference to be held locally> GOH was the Minister of Health Mr Yeoh Cheow Tong. Keynote speakers were Prof George Bishop, Prof Werasit Sittitrai and Mr Paddy Chew, the highlight of the conference who gave the first ever public address and press conference by a Singaporean PWA.
- WAD - AIDS Walk 98 - Bras Basah Park
- The first Riding for Life event was held in June. The route was from Penang to Singapore. Ridding for Life ’99 raised $37,000 for AfA’s Medication fund.
- Fashion Connections Fund Raising Gala Dinner. GOH was Mr Lee Yock Suan Minister of Trade and Industry.
- In May the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announces entry into Singapore would no longer be denied to foreign HIV-positive spouses of Singaporeans. This decision was the result of a series of events and appeals by AfA and members of the public.
- Revocation of the 24-hour burial regulations for PWAs. New regulations allowed for a more humane handling of deceased individuals.
- "True Love Waits" concert organized by the People's Growth Centre, featuring top TCS stars. This initiative was notable by the involvement of several Methodist, Anglican and Protestant churches, congregations and schools. It was also important in raising AIDS awareness among the Chinese speaking community in Singapore. The Guest-of-Honour was Mrs George Yeo.
- 2nd Singapore AIDS Conference - "Breaking Down Barriers - Working Together" 25-26 November 2000 - attracted almost 400 delegates who met over 1 1/2 days in the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre at the end of November 2000. Keynote speaker was Datin Marina Mahathir.
- Pregnant Mothers Fund was launched through the generous donation of an anonymous donor.
- MAC Viva Glam Floating World Tour saw the launch of the MAC Viva Glam III Lipstick. A generous cheque for $50,000 was donated to Action for AIDS at the launch.
- 3rd Art Against AIDS Competition.
- Riding for Life 2001. Riders raised a total of more than $53,000 in pledges for AfA bicycling from Kota Bahru in Kelantan to Singapore. The welcoming reception was graced by Mrs Yu Foo Yee Shoon, MP for Jurong GRC and Mayor of SW CDC.
- MSM programme, A 2 year programme to address the various issues more comprehensively. A part-time coordinator was employed to oversee the running of the programme.
- September, volunteers from the Family Support Group and the Women and HIV Group organised an outing for positive patients and their children at the Botanic Gardens to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.
- WAD - Positive Lives Photograph Exhibition at National Library @ Orchard. This attracted over 30,000 over 2 weeks in December.
WAD - AIDS Walk, held with the assistance of the HPB and the Red Cross Society, it attracted over 1200 participants who walked up and down Orchard Road, helping to create a heightened public awareness of AIDS.
- "An evening of Jazz" presented by Pomellato at Equinoxe Restaurant. Jazz singers and musicians performed to a sold out dinner audience that raised over $100,000.
- The Family Support Group was also set up to provide counseling and support to family units affected/infected by HIV/AIDS.
- 1st Strategic Planning workshop held over 2 days in CDC. This workshop was conducted with the generous assistance of Bain and Co.
- Working Group on the Affordability of ARV Medications in Singapore presented its report.
- candlelight Memorial was held at the National Youth Centre’s Youth Park in Somerset Road.
- Outreach to South Asian Foreign Workers - with Children of Mother Earth (COME) & Health Promotion Board.
- Art Against AIDS, GOH at Launch in National Library in the Orchard was MP Mr Charles Chong.
- Fund raising gala for the movie "Talking Cock". Guests of honour included MPs Charles Chong, Yatiman Yusof and Penny Low.
- 3rd Singapore AIDS Conference: "Change - Attitudes, Behavior - the Future"’. GOH was Dr Balaji Sadasivan, MOS for Health and Environment. Keynote speaker was Mr Mechai Viravaidya.
- WAD - 3D Party at Siloso Beach Sentosa organized by Gary Sng
- Riding for Life - June - jointly organized by Action for AIDS (AfA) and the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF).
- AfA official charity of Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
Funds raised through pledges from Standard Chartered Bank employees and participants were earmarked towards AIDS education programmes for youths.
- Mac AIDS Fund - Donated S$10,000 to Action for AIDS
- Established Halfway House for PWA at Harvey Ave
- AfA Endowment Fund set up 1 January 2004 - AfA put into SGD$800,000 into the Endowment Fund which is managed by the Board of Trustees.
- Rubber Ball 2004 at Cocolatte raised funds for AfA
- Launch of Bridges of Hope: ‘Be Aware Be Safe’ - Youth Awareness Programme
- Bubble Ball on Valentine’s Day raised S$50,000 at China Club in Capital Tower.
- August - S$20,000 donation to AfA at MAC Outlet opening event at Raffles City.
- 4th Singapore AIDS Conference - "Affected but not Alone" - GOH was Dr Balaji Sadasivan, SMS for Health. Keynote Speaker - Prof Shao Yiming
- Launch of "Nikki" Campaign as part of the high-risk heterosexual men (HMO) programme won an Advertising Effie's Gold Award for best response advertisement
- Action for AIDS moves to a new headquarters at 21 Norris Road, in the heart of Little India.
- Riding for Life 2005 in conjunction with MAC (Malaysian AIDS Council)
- Kiehls launch of Youth Grapefruit Hand and Body Shower for Youth AIDS
- Bubble Ball Fund Raising Gala dinner at the Grand Shanghai in April
- ATS - Increased to 3 days to include Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays after July 2005
- AIDS candlelight Memorial was held for the first time in the Singapore Botanical Garders
- Partnership with National Committee of Unifem and KK Women's and Children's hospital with screening and counselling conducted by AfA
- Positive Prevention Workshop for People Living with HV and AIDS at the Changi Village Hotel- April 2006.
- candlelight Memorial returned to Bras Basah, this time on Campus Green of the Singapore Management University.
- AOC fund raising event for the AfA Endowment Fund. The event held at the Four Season Hotel on 1st April. The event raised over SGD$270,000 for the Endowment Fund.
- AIDS Youth Seminar held on 27th May at the SPRING Singapore Auditorium.
- Digital Art Against AIDS -Art Against AIDS went digital in 4 different digital art categories: photography, video, animation and graphic/poster design.
- 5th Singapore AIDS Conference: ‘The Challenge & The Hope’. GOH was Dr Balaji Sadasivan. Keynote speakers were Dr Swarup Sarkar and Ms Chomnad Manopaiboon.
- Partnership with HPB on projects like Youth Outreach, Heterosexual Men & MSM outreach and Women Outreach.
- Partnership with AWARE for public outreach on HIV/AIDS with women audiences with one public forum and two workshop
- "Think Again" Campaign targeting MSM launched in August
- candlelight Memorial in SMU Auditorium
- AfA’s 1st Flag Day was held on 18th August
- 2nd AfA Corporate Strategic Retreat, September 2007 - Conrad Hotel
- Charity Gala Dinner "Vegas Royal" 25th August at the Singapore National Museum
- "I Am Responsible Campaign" part of the HMO Programme launched in August
7th Month Getai Show part of HMO Programme held in August in Chinatown
- WAD - Mass Line Dancing at Millennia Walk in conjunction with Country Bandwagon
AIDS Walk along Orchard Road to Tangs Department Store, in conjunction with MAC AIDS Fund, Republic Polytechnic, Box condoms and NewUrbanMale.
Name of Organisation: Action For Aids (Singapore)
IPC No: HEF0006/G
Date of Charity Registration: 07/10/1994
IPC Period : 15/12/2009 - 14/12/2012