Monday, August 13, 2001

Jason Gerald

Malaysia: Deaths due to AIDS increasing

KUALA ROMPIN, Sun. — The number of AIDS-related deaths in the country has been increasing steadily over the past 10 years, with the latest figure standing at about 15 daily.

As for the number of people suffering from HIV and AIDS, it has increased to 40,049 as of April this year.

Some 40 per cent of the victims are aged between 13 and 29, a group which is exposed and vulnerable to various social ills.

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said in 1990, there were only 10 people dying of HIV and AIDS but the number had steadily increased since.

There were 882 deaths reported last year alone, he added.

"According to the statistics obtained from the Health Departments throughout the country, there were only 778 HIV and AIDS cases identified in 1990.

"But last year alone, 5,100 new HIV and AIDS cases were reported.

"The increase in the number of HIV and AIDS cases may be due to more drug addiction cases and also frequent free sex among youths." Chua was speaking to reporters after closing the State-level Program Sihat Tanpa AIDS Untuk Remaja (Prostar) convention at the Rompin Beach Resort today.

He added that the ministry had spent RM6.8 million on the Prostar programme since 1996, which has to date benefited some 500,000 youths.

"Besides creating awareness of the danger of HIV and AIDS, I hope that Prostar will send proposals to the ministry outlining efforts to include other social ills," he said.

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Created: August 26, 2001
Last modified: August 26, 2001
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