Unsafe sexual practices account for 80% of HIV cases in country

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MELAKA: About 80% of the 73,557 HIV cases in the country are transmitted through sexual behaviours.
This is contrary to the common perception that drug addicts were more prone to the virus due to sharing of syringes.
State Health and Anti-Drug Committee chairman Low Chee Leong shared this piece of information in his speech at the “First Cities Getting to Zero HIV 2018” National Conference at a leading hotel here.
The event was attended by representatives from government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all over the country.
The two-day conference was held under Malaysia’s effort to eradicate the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Low said Malaysia was committed to the global declaration to achieve the three ‘zeroes’, namely on new HIV infection, deaths due to AIDS and discrimination against patients.
“However, our short-term goal is to achieve a breakthrough in drastically reducing the incidence of infection by 2020 with the collaboration of various stakeholders,” he added.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry official Dr Anita Suleiman said the infection pattern had changed dramatically over the past 25 years since the HIV case was first reported in the country, whereby more people are infected with HIV through unsafe sexual practices than drug abuse.
“The reason is due to Health Ministry’s intervention which provided methadone replacement therapy and also distributed sterile syringes to hardcore drug users for free, contributing to significant reduction,” she said.
Dr Anita said on the other hand, the ministry noticed a dramatic increase of HIV infection through unsafe sexual practices.
Melaka has about 3,755 people living with HIV and about 1,138 AIDS patient as of last year.

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