Sexual transmissions main cause of HIV/AIDS infections

KUALA LUMPUR: Men-to-men sexual transmissions made up the majority of the HIV/AIDS infections in the country, says the Health Ministry.

From a total of 3,347 new HIV/AIDS infections reported last year, 90% were the result of sexual transmissions, while the rest were from sharing of needles among drug users and other reasons.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said of the 90% sexual transmissions, 51% were men-to-men sexual transmissions while 40% were heterosexual transmissions.

He said regardless of their sexual orientations, those in the high-risk groups should go for screening, which is available in any government health clinics.

“It is immaterial if they are homosexuals or heterosexuals because the risk involved is similar if they have many partners and practise unprotected sex.

“The screening is very simple. You can walk into any government health clinics and get the screening done because the point-of-care test kit is available,” he said after launching the Fourth National AIDS Conference here on Saturday.

Dr Lee said the ministry was training more doctors to take part in the screening process.

To tackle homosexual and heterosexual transmissions, he said the ministry was planning more health education to advise them on safe and protected sex.

“It’s important to give those infected early treatments so that they are able to live a fairly normal, active life and reduce the risk of transmission to others,” he said, adding that the ministry was still committed to providing anti-retroviral treatment to all.

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