KUALA BERANG, May 22 — Unsafe sex has been identified as the main cause behind HIV/AIDS infections in the country, said the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s HIV/STI/Hepatitis C Sector head Dr Anita Suleiman.

According to Dr Anita, the pattern of HIV/AIDS infection in the last 10 years has changed significantly, where cases of infection caused by the use of needles are no longer the biggest contributor.

On the other hand, 95 per cent of the cases detected each year involve infections due to unsafe sex, especially among homosexual individuals.

“The drop in infection cases involving drug addicts is due to several factors, including the government’s continuous efforts through the Needle Syringe Exchange programme and Methadone Replacement Therapy, implemented in 2006,” she said when met at the Baitul Cakna Aidilfitri open house in Kampung Pelandan, here, today.

Also present were the chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and Terengganu Health Department director, Datuk Dr Kasemani Embong.

She also said that, as of December 2020, a total of 125,878 HIV/AIDS patients were recorded nationwide, with 90 per cent of them being men.

However, she said, the actual number was estimated to be much higher, as there were still many patients who refused and were ashamed to come and register with the MoH for treatment.

“Society’s stigma against HIV/AIDS patients is still rampant, despite the fact that the disease is no longer dangerous and causes infection in the community.

“This stigma needs to be eradicated immediately, because with modern treatment methods available today, this disease is no longer a major threat, in fact, those with diabetes require more careful and thorough care than HIV/AIDS patients,” she said. — Bernama