A New NGO Seeks to Change The Way Malta Looks at HIV

Checkpoint Malta is the brainchild of HIV-activist Mr Christian Jung

Mr Christian Jung, who has, over the past year, spent much time in Malta giving public talks about living with HIV, has brought together a group of like-minded people to create Checkpoint Malta. The recently-registered NGO seeks to build on what frameworks are already in place and to continue addressing the stigma that surrounds the immunodeficiency virus.

Speaking about what led to Checkpoint Malta’s foundation, Mr Jung, the President of the NGO, says, “As an organisation we, together with other NGOs and entities on the Island, are looking to assist in demystifying HIV and educating not only the general public but healthcare professionals and the entire LGBTQ+ community. This work will hopefully mean that people living with HIV can do so without fear of discrimination, (self-)stigmatisation, alienation and loneliness.”

Mr Jung adds that it is of the essence that Checkpoint Malta has the full support of the local LGBTQ+ community, and comments that he and the NGO remain indebted to the Community Manager of ARC – Allied Rainbow Communities, Mr Clayton Mercieca, for his support and for his words of encouragement.

In a statement congratulating the Checkpoint Malta board on their newly-acquired NGO status, Mercieca said: “It’s about time the issues of HIV and the stigma that lingers on in Malta are grabbed by the horns from people both within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as outside of it. In tandem with ARC and the Malta Gay Rights Movement [(MGRM)], we hope to push the aims of this organisation further.”

The Board of the NGO (VO/1719) currently has five members, namely Ms Anna Marie Galea as Secretary & Press Officer, Mr Marc Buhagiar as Treasurer, Dr Valeska Padovese as Chief Medical Officer, Dr Mark Josef Rapa as Organisational Insight & International Relations Specialist, and, of course, Mr Jung.

Together, they work in keeping with the ethos of the NGO, whose work seeks to make Malta a frontrunner in research, acquisition and the administration of the best HIV treatments and prevention methods in the world. Checkpoint Malta is also pleased to be working in close proximity with the GU-Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital. Here, apart from working directly with Dr Padovese, the NGO is working with Assistant Chief Medical Officer, Dr Aaron Schembri, whose support has been invaluable.

“Our work has already begun and we are working towards Malta having a better understanding of the fact that undetectable equals untransmittable [(U=U)], while striving for more accessible and affordable pre-exposure treatment [(PrEP)], post-exposure treatment [(PEP)], and less-intrusive treatments for people already living with HIV,” says Dr Padovese.

“We are pushing for more testing facilities with a fast-track from first contact through to diagnosis, follow-up and after-care, with easily-available psychological and emotional support services, as well as to increase awareness and usability of such testing facilities.”

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you all at Pride on September 14th to help in celebrating this new chapter in being Stigma Warriors.

For more information about Checkpoint Malta, get in touch directly with Mr Jung via email (chris@checkpoint.mt) or phone (+31 682 568 586).

Monique Chambers
Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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