HIV spread via heterosexual relationships

At present, 70% of AIDS and HIV positive cases are transmitted through heterosexual relationships, mainly from female sex workers to male clients, says the Health Ministry.

“The biggest cause of AIDS cases used to be intravenous drug users, but we have managed to control that through our harm reduction programmes. Now it is caused by males who visit sex workers, whether locally or abroad, and have unprotected sex. From there, they passed it on to their wives or partners. This figure is on the rise,” said Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He added that the Government was committed towards supporting a United Nations political declaration to see the end of the HIV and AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“We initially targeted to see the number of new HIV cases reduced from 21.7 cases per 100,000 population in 2000 to 11.0/100,000 in 2015. But we did better and reduced it to 10.9/100,000. We aim to ensure that we reach 0 cases even before 2030,” he said at a press conference at the Ministry here.

Dr Subramaniam said the Ministry had identified four high-risk groups as the “key population”, viz: (1) intravenous drug users, (2) female sex workers, (3) transgenders and (4) homosexual men.

“To help achieve our aim by 2030, we must increase the prevention programs among these key populations, increase access to treatment and provide screenings.

“We also have a good relationship with non-government organisations which we work closely with these key populations and they will help with our harm reduction programmes,” he said.

The minister said HIV screenings had also been expanded to 1Malaysia Clinics, besides hospitals and health clinics.

“On average, we conduct about 1.2 million HIV screenings annually,” he added.

/theSTAR 14-07-2016

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