AIDS in Malaysia
Malaysia is home to one of the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in the East Asia and Pacific region. Between the first detected case in 1986 and 2008, 84,630* men, women and children have been notified infected with HIV; while 11,234* have died of AIDS.
HIV and AIDS in 2008
While Malaysia’s epidemic is largely dominated by injecting drug users who make up about 57% of new total cases in 2008, there is concern however that heterosexual transmission is on the rise. In 2008, 27% of new reported HIV cases were attributed to heterosexual intercourse. In 2004, it was 20%.
The proportion of women reported with HIV has increased dramatically in the last decade, from 4% of new cases in 1995 to 19% of new cases in 2008. Ministry of Health data show that in 2008, more housewives tested HIV-positive than sex workers, with a ratio of 1 sex worker for every five housewives.
The percentage of babies born with HIV remains at relatively low levels - around 1.4% of new cases in recent years as a result of a Government sponsored prevention program for pregnant women.
As in most parts of the world, young people in Malaysia remain vulnerable to HIV. December 2008 statistics from the Ministry of Health reveal that 27% of new infections are amongst teens and youth aged between 13 to 29 years old. It is likely that people infected with HIV before the age of 30 were infected in their twenties and sometimes even during their teens.
Gender inequity, stigma, discrimination, silence, denial and ignorance fuel the epidemic in Malaysia.
* Source: Ministry of Health, Malaysia
Ministry of Health & UNICEF Report 2008
Women and Girls Confronting HIV and AIDS in Malaysia, 2008. Read
HIV, AIDS and Children