Heterosexual sex has become the main contributor, accounting for 70 per cent of recent HIV and AIDS cases in the country, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. Most of the cases involve men who contract HIV or AIDS after having unprotected sex with female sex worker.

PUTRAJAYA: There has been a significant increase in the spread of HIV and AIDS cases in Malaysia through heterosexual sex.

Heterosexual sex has become the main contributor, accounting for 70 per cent of recent HIV and AIDS cases, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

“Most of the cases involve men who contract HIV or AIDS after having unprotected sex with female sex workers. These men, after being infected, then pass on the disease to their family,” he told reporters today.

Dr Subramaniam said this factor now poses a bigger threat to public safety, as drug addicts used to be the main cause behind the disease’s spread.

“We have managed to control the spread of HIV and AIDS through drug addicts with various efforts and rehabilitation programmes with non-governmental organisations," he said.

He said there are currently 40,000 female sex workers at risk of contracting the disease.

"To curb this phenomenon from growing, we have to manage these 40,000 people by reaching out to them and providing the needed help," he said.

He said there are currently 170,000 drug abusers, 20,000 transgender people, and 170,000 homosexual men who are at risk of contracting the disease.

However, Dr Subramaniam noted that despite the increase, said the number of total HIV and AIDS cases have dropped by 35 per cent since 2000.

The number of AID and HIV-related deaths have also decreased by 42 per cent since 2004, he said.

He said, in line with the United Nation's Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: On The Fast Tract to Accelerate The Fight Against HIV and to End AIDS Epidemic by 2030, Malaysia also hopes to put an end to the disease with zero new cases within the stipulated period.

Meanwhile, on a separate matter, Health Deputy Director-General Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai confirmed that a directive has been issued to Pantai Hospital and its chain hospitals to immediately ban water birthing in its facilities.

“This is because there has been no evidence showing that the birthing process is safe for the mother and child.

“Our experts have discussed this and have come to a consensus to not allow water birthing until there are regulations in place, and until the people involved in the process are trained," he added.

10,176 reads