12 HIV cases recorded since Jan
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TWELVE HIV cases were recorded in Brunei Darussalam this year, said the Minister of Health in his message to observe the World AIDS Day (WAD) which falls today.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof expressed concern over this rising trend and called for more efforts to prevent and control the spread of HIV through education and awareness.
“For Brunei Darussalam, 2014 saw 12 new cases, with five of them among homosexuals,” the Ministry of Health statement said.
The 12 cases recorded in 2014 represent the highest annual increase for the country. Ten cases were recorded last year. Brunei has recorded a cumulative 105 HIV cases since its first case of HIV in 1986.
The minister emphasised that high-risk behaviour must be avoided especially as it is against the teachings of Islam and true Bruneian values.
YB Pehin Dato Adanan also called for closer cooperation between all stakeholders — private agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), educational institutions and members of the public — to commit in more effective prevention and control measures to tackle the issue.
Today, Brunei joins other countries worldwide to observe WAD.
The theme is “Getting to Zero: Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths”.
WAD is seen as an opportunity for people globally to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died due to AIDS.
Meanwhile, Iswandy Ahmad, president of Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council (BDAC) said that education, awareness campaigns, continuous research and taking preventive measures are still the most effective ways to reduce and control the number of new HIV infections.
He also said that “BDAC would like to call on those who felt that they had put themselves at risk, to seek HIV testing. Confidential testing involves a simple blood test that is available at all government health centres and clinics as well as private health facilities.
Apart from BDAC, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) are also active in creating awareness on HIV particularly in the corporate sector.
The ‘Living with HIV’ educational programme is one of the SCB’s main corporate social responsibility programmes, aimed at educating peers by sharing the correct facts about the disease.
In conjunction with WAD 2014, JPMC is also organising a photo contest themed “Getting to Zero”. They also launched commemorative Red Ribbons, a universal symbol of awareness and support for PLHIV, which can be purchased for $3 at their counter. Proceeds will go to BDAC as part of the annual charity project.
World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 35 million people are living with the HIV virus, and in 2013 alone, an estimated 2.1 million new HIV infections were recorded worldwide
The Brunei Times