Charity run draws strong interest

National 1 minute, 31 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A TOTAL of 550 people have registered to take part in ‘Red Ribbon Run 2016’ in April, exceeding the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council’s (BDAC) target of 500.

Co-organised by BDAC and Heroes Event Management, the charity run seeks to spread awareness on HIV, while all proceeds will go to those in need and toward future projects to create awareness. Registration for the run closed last Sunday.

BDAC spokesperson Dk Nurul Raudah Pg Hj Saifuddin said for many years, HIV-AIDS has been seen as “an invisible” problem, often just thought of as a disease that occurs as a result of pre-marital sex or high-risk sexual behaviour.

“HIV and AIDS in Brunei are still a stigma. It’s not easy to talk about it because it’s usually associated with relationships outside marriage.

“People need to be given the proper information that’s beneficial to them so they know what needs to be avoided and how it can be prevented,” she said, adding that prevention can only prevail with knowledge and awareness.

In a message to mark World AIDS Day in December, Health Minister Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi said 24 new HIV cases had been reported as of December 2015, with surveillance showing a shift in the mode of transmission from heterosexual relationships to “other types of high-risk sexual behaviour”.

In his message, the minister said the incidence of new HIV cases had increased over the past three years, with 38 new cases reported from 2012 to 2014.

Statistics also show there has been a cumulative total of 110 HIV cases among Brunei citizens and permanent residents since the first case in 1986.

The run is set to take place on April 10 at the Health Promotion Centre.

Dk Nurul Raudah hopes the event will be able to raise awareness of HIV and sexual health among Bruneians.

The Brunei Times