KUALA LUMPUR — Dec. 4, 2018: Sexual activity has become the number one cause of HIV infections in the country.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad told the Dewan Rakyat tonight that sexually transmitted infections increased to 91 per cent last year compared to just 33 per cent in 2002, although the overall number of cases dropped to 60 per cent in the same year compared to 2007.
As a precaution, the ministry will increase the rate of access to anti-retroviral treatment so that at least 95 per cent of patients could be treated. By the end of last year only 54 per cent received the treatment, said Dzulkefly when winding up the committee-level debate for his ministry on Budget 2019.
Anti-retroviral treatment can generally prevent the spread of HIV through sexual activity by up to 97 per cent.
The ministry will also continue to emphasise on the importance of safe sex for high-risk groups to contain sexually transmitted diseases.
At an event in Temerloh today, it was reported that Pahang recorded a drop in HIV infection by 70.5 per cent, with only 165 cases reported this year compared to 655 in 2002.
Currently the state has 11,339 HIV patients since the first was detected in 1989. Of the total, 9,086 patients are still surviving and undergoing treatment provided by the government.
Of the total, 82 per cent are males, of whom 57 per cent are aged 20 to 39 years,” said state health director Datuk Dr. Sha’ari Ngadiman at the World AIDS Day celebration.
Sha’ari said Pahang also recorded an excellence record in the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child during pregnancy, with no case recorded within these two years.
He said the success was achieved due to ministry’s continuous efforts to provide treatments to HIV-positive pregnant mothers as well as after giving birth.
The main contributor to HIV in Pahang in recent years was sexually promiscuous behaviour compared to a few years ago where it was due to the sharing of syringes among drug users. — Bernama