Published: Wednesday November 24, 2010 MYT 3:46:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday November 24, 2010 MYT 6:45:12 PM
More and more housewives getting infected with HIV
KUALA LUMPUR: The total number of HIV cases in Malaysia has dropped in the past five years but more women are getting infected.
The number of women and young girls infected has risen from 4% in 1995 to 18% by the end of last year with a majority of them housewives.
Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Senator Heng Seai Kie said that in Asia, 25% to 40% of newly-infected women and girls contracted the disease from their husbands or boyfriends.
Quoting the Commission on Aids in Asia report in 2008, she said men, infected through intravenous drug use and unprotected sexual intercourse with sex workers, would increasingly infect more women in the future.
“The data we have in Malaysia shows that this is already happening in Kelantan, Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah and Johor,” she said.
Senator Heng Seai Kie’s speech was read out by Director General of the National Population and Family and Community Development during the launch of the ‘State of the Malaysia HIV and AIDS Epidemic 2010’ at Park Royal Hotel here Wednesday.
According to a report by United Nations Malaysia, 79,619 men and 8,091 women in the country were infected with HIV over the past 23 years.
There were 99 cases of infants, below the age of 2 years, infected with the disease between 1986 to 2009, while the age group of 30-39 faced the highest risk with 37,709 cases.
The report also showed that Johor recorded the highest number of cases compared to other states followed by Selangor and Kelantan.
The Malay community recorded the highest number of infections with 62,953 cases followed by the Chinese ethnic group with 12,687 and Indians with 6929 cases.
“It is no longer just people who inject drugs and sell sex who are at risk of HIV infection,”
“Ignorance and apathy puts us all at risk,” said Heng.
She added that the ministry had set up centres such as the Pusat Bantuan Khidmat Sosial and Rumah Nur Salam in Chow Kit to respond to the challenges.
“We should open our doors to vulnerable young people in need of sexual reproductive health services and guidance,” she said adding that the ministry had allocated RM50 mil towards establishing shelter homes for People Living with HIV nationwide.
She also called for parents, teachers and students to support the implementation of the Reproductive Health and Social Education syllabus that will be introduced in schools nationwide next year.
“It will enable our youth to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, sexual abuse and sexually transmitted infections,” she said.