Healthcare Project for Taiwanese Living with HIV/AIDS
Healthcare for People Living with HIV/AIDS
Who We Help
1. Infants with a suspected HIV infection
2. Children and adolescents affected by HIV
3. Adults and elders living with HIV/AIDS (and other illnesses)
With regular medication and treatment, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) can now reach average life expectancy. Yet many PLHA remain marginalized and excluded from support networks due to discrimination, stigma, and violation of their basic human rights.
- Emerging needs in the long-term care of people living with HIV/AIDSAccording to recent studies , PLHA Today, more than 4,600 PLHAs in Taiwan are older than 50, on the threshold of becoming elders. It is still common that, due to prejudice, few institutions are willing to accept PLHA who require long-term healthcare.
- Diversification of PLHA’s healthcare needsPLHA and those affected by HIV served by Harmony Home have a wide range of ages and categories of disability, including visual impairment, psychosis, and physical disabilities. Among all the cases, PLHA with mental illness require much more delicate and professional care, which creates a heavy burden on our social workers and caregivers.
We will continue to negotiate with the Taiwanese government and other institutions to ensure that more certificated care facilities can accept PLHA without discrimination, in order to respond to the increasing care needs of PLHA.
Provide PLHA with holistic services within a comprehensive and supportive health system, maintaining not only their lives but also their dignity.
Professional workers provide daily necessities and ensure support and company for service users who lack family support to help them develop physical and mental health.
Provide all our HIV-positive residents with sufficient medical care, company, and resources for their mental and physical wellness.
Advocate for PLHA’s human rights to reduce stigma and discrimination, with the goal of creating an HIV-friendly society. We hope, for instance, that more long-term care facilities will be willing and able to accommodate and serve PLHA without discrimination.
Find a suitable location to provide enhanced services to respond to the increasing need for long-term care for PLHA.
A-Ren’s Story: Coming to Harmony Home with HIV and Dementia
We are a halfway home; but for many of our residents, we may also be their last home. There is only a slim chance that they will return to living among the public or find a truly suitable long-term care institution outside of Harmony Home.
Last summer, we received a phone call for a referral from a partner group. A-Ren (pseudonym) suffered from a congenital genetic disorder that caused his dementia, and he was urgently in need of a placement due to care issues. The day before they called us, the social worker from the community group had taken A-ren to a social welfare center to seek help, but the response they received was: “No care institutions will accept someone with a condition like his. We cannot handle his case”. Despite the social worker’s pleas, and inquiries about whether other types of assistance could be provided, the answer was still “take him home!”
Soon after, A-Ren came to Harmony Home. Our halfway house in northern Taiwan had never accommodated any individuals with a condition like A-Ren’s. Considering his best interests and personal safety (he could not even read traffic lights by this time), we were willing to try our best to bring him into the Harmony Home family. The social worker later said that when they left the social welfare center the day that A-Ren came to us, that he did not understand what was going on. With a confused look on his face, he asked: “Are you upset?” He almost teared up. Sometimes, the reality of a situation really cannot be changed by a social worker.
For A-Ren, the true challenge began after entering Harmony Home. For those who live with dementia, it is not easy to adapt to changes in the environment, not to mention an unfamiliar group-living environment. After moving in, A-Ren struggled with discomfort, fear, and anxiety, which all deeply troubled him. He repeatedly asked the same questions, and due to his loss of language skills, he often could not describe his fears. We could only stay next to him to comfort him. Sometimes, when he had sweat all over his body and looked at us with his red eyes, we felt a deep sense of powerlessness. Our hearts ached with worry for him. We sat with A-Ren and talked to him, redirecting his attention with jokes, and taking him out for drives to soothe his anxiety. Nevertheless, there was not much we could do.
For A-Ren, who had once been an office worker, being infected with HIV was not a problem. The main reason that his world fell apart was the onset of his congenital genetic disorder. He and his mother depended on one another since childhood, and she was bedridden by the same congenital genetic disorder. Back then, he was even seen as a good example at the nursing home for the care and love he provided for his mother. After becoming sick himself, instead of worrying about his own well-being, his concern was that no one else would take care of his mother. His anxiety would only calm down a little when he could visit her with the help of his friends.
AIDS itself is not dangerous, what is dangerous is social stigma, ignorance, and discrimination. For many people infected with HIV, when they encounter other difficulties and seek support, people often only see the disease they have instead of what they really need help with. As a result, many are left with no one to turn to in times of need.
Story of the PLHA in Harmony Home Taiwan
Support Our Work
Bank: TAIPEI FUBON COMMERCIAL BANK, Dunhe Branch
SWIFT BIC: TPBKTWTP
Account: HARMONY HOME FOUNDATION TAIWAN
Account No: 742-120-001-074
Contact: +866-2-27389600 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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