HIV in Malaysia: If it’s not one thing, it’s another

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly known as HIV, is not foreign to us and has made its way to Malaysia since 1986. Can be transmitted through genetics, HIV is a blood-borne virus, and it can lead to AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome which is also the last stage of HIV – can threaten life and cause death.
As scary as it seems, HIV cannot easily affect people in our normal daily life, even though we are in public. Scientifically, HIV can only be transmitted by getting into the bloodstream through a mucous membrane. Hence, most people who have anal or vaginal sex, share needles, syringes or any drug injection equipment with HIV-positive are bound to get it as well.
Intravenous drug users (IVDU) were highly contributing to the rate of HIV cases in Malaysia, however, for the last 5-10 years, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) have become a leading factor. In Malaysia, the trend of HIV has significantly increased from approximately 4,000 cases per year to 6,000 cases per year, and the highest number of cases recorded were in Selangor with a 31% percentage in the whole country in the year 2020.
Despite being populated by a majority of Muslims, MSM has been a leading factor in HIV cases in Malaysia, which is a type of intersexual course that is frowned upon by Islam and its believers. Initially, MSM was recorded below 10% in Malaysia in the year 1990 and started to be notable in 2010. Since 2016, it has then become the main factor alongside heterosexual intercourse cases.
Healthcare workers are getting more popular since the beginning of the pandemic, as they are the front liners of the country against the Covid-19 virus. However, their job scope is much wider than that. The covid-19 virus is one small part of their daily tasks, and HIV cases are also included. Hence the increase of these cases means that it will also impact the healthcare workers directly.
Some people might argue that it is still in control, and they should not complain about it when it is part of their job. But remember, Rome was not built in a day. The increasing trend of HIV cases will someday affect the whole human nation and by that time, it will be no use crying over spilt milk.
Agree or disagree?

Written by

Zahiruddin Zaki,
Health Cluster,
Jabatan Profesional Muda (JPro)
The writer is a member of the Health Cluster, JPro and also an environmental health practitioner.

29 Disember 2022