Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 30, 2004

109114041865075590

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:31 am

Sarawak Housewives Face Increasing Risk Of HIV Infection

KUCHING, July 29 (Bernama) — Housewives are at an increasing risk of getting HIV infection as heterosexual transmission is now the main cause of AIDS cases reported in Sarawak.

Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Unit head, Dr Oui Siew Kim said Thursday it was the main mode of HIV infection unlike elsewhere in the country where drug abusers and sex workers were at a higher risk.

“When AIDS cases were first detected in Sarawak in 1989, it was initially reported among foreigners, mostly Thai fishermen but now more and more Sarawakians are contracting HIV infection,” she told reporters after the opening of an HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign For Women by Sarawak Women’s Bureau director Norjanah Razali here.

Dr Oui, who is also the State Health Services Assistant Director, said a total of 424 HIV cases had been reported in Sarawak, including 174 AIDS cases and 89 AIDS-related deaths since then.

Up to June this year, she said 34 new HIV cases, 19 AIDS cases and nine deaths were reported in the state compared to 75 HIV cases, 49 AIDS cases and 13 deaths last year and 55 HIV cases, 26 AIDS cases and 14 deaths in 2003.

She advised those with multiple partners or were in doubt of their health status to undergo counselling and medical screening at any of the government health clinics, which were free of charge.

Earlier SGH Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Wendy Loh said women constituted 5.5 percent of the estimated 58,000 HIV positive people in the country.

Dr Loh, who is Sarawak Family Planning Association (SFPA) Honorary Treasurer, said the number of women, who were newly infected went up by over 10-fold to 673 cases from 66 new cases in 1993.

On the campaign being funded by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, she said it was to create awareness and understanding among women on HIV/AIDS.

She said it was also aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle that could reduce HIV transmissions and enable women to make responsible choices with regards to the promotion of their general wellbeing.

— BERNAMA

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