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HIV in Malaysia

HIV is one of the most feared diseases in Malaysia. It causes a lot of anxiety for those who are at risk of getting it. From the moment you realize you are at risk, to the point when you are about to do the test or waiting for the result until the moment when you finally know your status. People are afraid of it because there are a lot of strings attached to it. The Life long treatment, the lifestyle changes and the worst are the stigma from the community even from their own family members. Some will end up with divorce, lose their jobs and some end up with major depression. 

Not all patients will end up with doom and gloom. Those who seek treatment early, have good family support and with a good and positive attitude can actually live a normal life with a lifespan as same or even better than those who don’t have HIV.  The idea is to accept it as it is and act on it to prevent deterioration. 

Malaysia has done quite well in combating HIV. Our effort started even before HIV was detected in Malaysia. The National AIDS task force was established in 1985 and the first case of HIV was recorded in 1986. They have outlined a great strategy in order to reduce cases with the aim of eradication of HIV in 2030. 

Up to December 2018, there were 118,883 reported cases in Malaysia. The great news is that new cases are reducing by more than 50% from 2002 (6978 cases reported) to 2018 (3293). Most cases were reported in Selangor, Putrajaya and Johor. Male gender has higher incidents however female cases are rising in recent years. Early days HIV affected mostly those who were involved with IV drug users who shared needles however recent data shows most cases reported are from sexual transmission particularly same gender partners.  More than 70% cases reported in 2018 are among the 20 to 39 years age group. 

Prevention is better than cure. 

If you belong to the high risk group to get HIV, it is always better to take extra precautions to reduce the risk as much as you can. Always practice safe sex, wear protection, limit the number of partners or even better just a single partner. An even better Prevention is to practice taking Pre-exposure medication(PrEP) before any exposure. or Post exposure medication(PEP) (best to take within 72 hrs of exposure) if you think that you have been exposed to a person infected with HIV.

Most importantly, Get tested. You may have contracted STDs even if you don’t have any symptoms, getting tested as frequently as you can is the best prevention tool against it.  Talk to us for better understanding and if you are interested to know more. 

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