KUALA BERANG: Unsafe sex has been identified as the main cause behind HIV/AIDS infections in the country, says Dr Anita Suleiman (pic).
According to the Health Ministry's HIV/STI/Hepatitis C Sector head, the pattern of HIV/AIDS infections in the last 10 years has changed significantly, where cases of infection caused by the use of needles are no longer the biggest contributor.
On the other hand, 95% of the cases detected each year involve infections due to unsafe sex, especially among homosexual individuals.
“The drop in infection cases involving drug addicts is due to several factors, including the government's continuous efforts through the Needle Syringe Exchange programme and Methadone Replacement Therapy, implemented in 2006,” she said when met at the Baitul Cakna Aidilfitri open house in Kampung Pelandan, here, Sunday (May 22).
Also present were the chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and Terengganu Health director Datuk Dr Kasemani Embong.
Dr Anita also said that, as of December 2020, a total of 125,878 HIV/AIDS patients were recorded nationwide, with 90% of them being men.
However, she said, the actual number was estimated to be much higher, as there were still many patients who were ashamed and refused to register with the Health Ministry for treatment.
“Society’s stigma against HIV/AIDS patients is still rampant, despite the fact that the disease is no longer dangerous and causes infection in the community.
“This stigma needs to be eradicated immediately, because with modern treatment methods available today, this disease is no longer a major threat, in fact, those with diabetes require more careful and thorough care than HIV/AIDS patients,” she said. - Bernama