KUALA LUMPUR: There were 3,177 new HIV cases reported last year and most of these cases involved men aged between 20 to 39, the Dewan Rakyat was told.
Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni (pic) said there were a total of 69,589 individuals who are living with HIV as of last year.
"Every year, 77% of new cases involve youths aged between 20 and 39 and more than 90% of them are men.
"This shows that exposure to HIV infection began in school. About 97% of new cases were due to sex," said Lukanisman during Question Time in Parliament on Thursday (March 2).
He said the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medicine is the most effective pharmaceutical preventive measure where it successfully prevented HIV infections through sex with a 99% rate.
"This method was scientifically proven in many studies abroad," added Lukanisman.
Lukanisman also said a study by Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERIA) showed that the usage of PrEP saved RM47mil in government coffers between 2006 to 2013 in HIV treatments.
According to the deputy minister, PrEP medicine in private clinics and pharmacies is currently priced between RM90 to RM120 for a bottle.
"If those with HIV progressed to AIDS complications and opportunistic diseases, treatment will be more expensive as compared to PrEP which only cost RM320 per person annually," he said.
Lukanisman said the PrEP approach could reduce HIV infections among Malaysians.
"There are those who contracted HIV at the age of 18. Abstinence alone isn’t enough (to prevent this)," he said.