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Malaysian HIV crisis

15th February 2007

The deputy director-general for Malaysia's Ministry of Health, Ramlee Rahmat, has said that nearly 300,000 Malaysia residents could become HIV-positive by 2015 unless increased efforts are made to reduce the spread of the virus.

He said the virus is spreading quickly among IDUs (Injecting Drug Users), factory workers, women, fishermen, and truck drivers. Rahmat noted a "worrying trend" of increasing HIV incidence among women in the country, as well as an increase in transmission through heterosexual sex.

There are estimated to be around 73,000 HIV-positive people living in Malaysia, 75% of whom are injection drug users and 7% of whom are women. The government in Malaysia launched a five-year national strategic plan to reduce HIV transmission last year; they have increased access to drug substitution therapy, needle-exchange programs among IDUs and have provided free antiretrovirals for women and children at government clinics.

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