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Malaysian women are key to making a difference on HIV and AIDS

© UNICEF video
Thousands of children in Malaysia have been profoundly affected by HIV and AIDS.

By Tee Shiao Eek

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 18 December 2008 – Thousands of children in Malaysia either live in homes with a family member who is living with HIV, have been orphaned by AIDS or are living with the virus themselves. These children may have their childhood, education and opportunities affected by the stigma and discrimination attached to HIV.

This is a growing problem, as Malaysia is experiencing an increase in the number of women living with HIV and AIDS. Many of them have been infected by their husbands and risk transmitting the virus to their babies. It is clear that women will have to play an important role in overcoming Malaysia's HIV challenges.

A protective environment

UNICEF Malaysia is working to protect the rights of all children, including those affected by HIV/AIDS.

© UNICEF video
UNICEF Malaysia is working to assist children who have been orphaned by AIDS.

For example, UNICEF is collaborating with the government to equip children with life-skills education, provide them with care and support, and empower women and young people to make responsible decisions and take control of their lives.

The Princess of Kedah and Chairperson of the Sultanah Bahiyah Foundation, H.H. Dato' Seri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz, is actively promoting the empowerment of young people through her work with the community. "It is very important to educate children and empower them. Through providing information, we can teach them about the issues that may threaten their lives or be of concern to them," she said.

Through all of its programmes and advocacy efforts, UNICEF is working to reduce the vulnerability of children, particularly those affected by HIV, by creating a more protective environment.

© UNICEF video
Many women living with HIV in Malaysia have been infected by their husbands and risk transmitting the virus to their babies.

Support for women

If Malaysia does not control the spread of HIV, the disease could undo the progress the country has made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals – especially MDG 6, combating HIV and AIDS. As a result, HIV has become a strong focus of the national agenda.

With the right support, women can say 'no' to choices that put them in harm's way. They can change the course of HIV in the Malaysia, and make a difference for all children affected by HIV.




Watch 'Inspiring Women to Unite for an AIDS-Free Generation', a video documentary produced by UNICEF Malaysia.
(external link, opens in a new window)

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