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Aids: HIV cases to hit 300,000 in 10 years

Contributed by Anonymous on Thursday, December 01 @ 08:17:40 CST

HealthMalaysia is expected to register a jump in HIV cases in 2015 to 300,000 people from about 65,000 now, a senior official said today.

Lee Kah Choon, parliamentary secretary to the Health Ministry told lawmakers in Parliament that 18 HIV cases are reported daily and 7,500 have died in Malaysia battling the disease.

Lee said some 3,500 HIV patients were undergoing treatment under the "highly active anti-retroviral therapy."

With a population of 25 million people, Malaysia has pledged to step up its battle against HIV/Aids after the United Nations said the virus had infected many more than the official government estimate.

"We have to halt the sexual spread of HIV/Aids and this can only be done through education," Health Department director-general Ismail Merican was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Ismail said that some 65,000 people in Malaysia had been diagnosed with HIV by the end of 2004. But the United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) said it believes some 81,000 Malaysians could be infected.

Beyond high-risk groups

Nafis Sadik, UN special envoy for HIV/Aids in Asia, told the New Straits Times that the situation in Malaysia had developed into a "generalised epidemic" with the virus having spread beyond high-risk groups.

Sadik urged Malaysia to cast aside the denial and stigma often attached to HIV/Aids patients and hailed the government's move to provide fresh needles and condoms to HIV-positive drug addicts.

The government's plan to distribute free needles and condoms has been attacked by critics as going against religious teachings and being a waste of public funds.

Some 75 percent of HIV-infected Malaysians are intravenous drug users.




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