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Sun, Jan 09, 2000 - Page 2 News List

AIDS group vows to be independent of government aid

By Erin Prelypchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A private group culminated six months of working for the rights of people with AIDS by achieving official Ministry of the Interior (MOI) recognition yesterday -- and by vowing to remain completely independent of the government.

"We're not going to take a cent from the government ... and this will allow us to remain an independent, critical voice of the government's AIDS policies," said Living Care Association (臺灣生命社服協會) Chairman Tang Fu-kuo (湯富國) at the association's official opening yesterday.

Living Care, most of whose members are persons with HIV/AIDS and their family members, began in September to offer home and hospital visits for AIDS patients, telephone support and information, outreach, and free, confidential testing.

The group, which elected its advisory board and board of directors yesterday, operates solely on donations -- the vast majority of which come from its 57 members.

Now that Living Care is an officially-registered tax-exempt non-profit organization, it is eligible to apply for government grants -- the reason many similar organizations elect a board and publicize their budget under MOI regulations, Tang said.

But he said the association plans to raise its own funds and avoid the dilemma which faces many other NGOs: while they criticize the government's policies, they ultimately rely on its grants to survive.

Living Care joins six other officially-registered groups working for AIDS education and support.

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