Free Malaysia Today
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This year, World AIDS Day, which is celebrated annually on December 1, will give Malaysians a moment to reflect on the nation’s response to HIV and AIDS.
According to the marketing and communications director of Pink Triangle (PT) Foundation, Raymond Tai: “December 1 will be an opportunity for us to join forces with the world community to unite in the fight against HIV.”
Tai, who started off as a volunteer before joining PT full time, has been with the community-based organisation for the last 20 years. PT advocates HIV and AIDS prevention, support and care.
“It will also be a chance for us to show our support for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and to commemorate people who have died from AIDS,” he said, adding that it would be a timely occasion to reflect on the progress and challenges that Malaysia has made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Tai noted that since the first case of HIV was discovered in Malaysia more than 25 years ago, the total number of PLHIV in Malaysia is estimated at 85,332.
In December last year, Malaysia had a cumulative figure of 101,672 reported HIV cases, 20,285 AIDS cases and 16,340 cases of AIDS-related deaths.
The epidemic in Malaysia, he pointed out, remains concentrated among key affected populations, namely People Using Drugs (PUD), sex workers, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and transgenders.
The annual number of new HIV cases reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been on a decline from a peak of 6,978 in 2002. It has stabilised in recent years. In 2013, only 3,393 new cases were reported, with an average of about nine new cases every day.
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