AIDS Council to step up HIV awareness
THE Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council (BDAC) plans to step up its awareness programmes on HIV prevention following an increase in number of HIV cases last year.
BDAC President Iswandy Ahmad said the council is targeting their awareness programmes on those who are engaged with “risky behaviours”.
Speaking on the sidelines of a HIV workshop at Institute of Brunei Technical Education’s Jefri Bolkiah Technical College, he said risky behaviours refer to those who have unprotected sexual intercourse, including people in same-sex relationships.
Brunei recorded 28 new HIV cases in 2015, the highest number recorded in a single year compared with 38 cases between 2012 to 2014.
“Based on the statistics, cases are high among those aged from 20 to 29, so that is why we are calling out to those people who are involved in risky behaviours to get themselves properly tested,” Iswandy said.
“We would also like to encourage them to ask the doctors or learn more on HIV as we believe that the more they know, the better they can do to protect themselves, and it is always better for them to avoid risky behaviours,” he added.
The president said the AIDS council has advocated a number of methods that may help people from being engaged in risky activities, such as empowering people to negotiate, refuse and have mutual respect for the other gender.
Parents and other family members are also encouraged to monitor one another, reminding them to avoid “risky behaviours.
“As for the government, perhaps they can help non-governmental organisations like us by equipping teachers, parents and also other members of the community with the knowledge on HIV prevention,” he continued.
He said government assistance would allow the council to reach out to more people and help them become aware of the dangers of HIV.
“HIV cases in Brunei has increased, so if you have ever been engaged in risky activities, get yourself tested.
“If you have knowledge on HIV prevention, tell it to others, it is at least good enough if you can save one person from HIV,” he added.
The Brunei Times