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In This Religious, Conservative State, Sexually-Transmitted HIV is a Big Problem

Terengganu is one of Malaysia’s most conservative states. Jawi, a local form of Arabic used to communicate the local Bahasa Malaysia language, can be found on street signs in the capital, Kuala Terengganu. In the past, it has elected the hardline Islamist party, PAS, to power.

The monarchy and Islam, the dominant religion in Terengganu, play an integral role in the lives of its citizens. Photo Credit: Abie Sudiono

It is also experiencing a shocking uptick in sexually-trasmitted HIV cases, with fifty-seven new cases in 2016, alone. The state has a population of less than 1.2 million people.

HIV infection cases stemming from sexual activity is a significant contributing factor to the HIV epidemic in Terengganu, comprising 34.6% out of the 165 new infected patients that were recorded in 2015.  

The state’s Health Director, Dr. Mohammad Omar mentioned that the situation had to be viewed seriously because the statistics for sexually transmitted cases of HIV had in fact more than doubled as a percentage of total HIV cases since 2010, when only 15.6 percent of new cases were the result of sexual transmission.

“Even though those who were certified HIV positive as a result of sexual transmission comprised only 9.7 percent of the 9,563 HIV patients in the state, the Health Department takes these things seriously because sexually transmitted HIV cases have been increasing since 2012”.

Approximately 15 new HIV cases recorded last year also were the result of homosexual and bisexual activity, he mentioned, after officiating at a World AIDS Day event the night before. 

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  • jiggaman87


  • Talon Scalon

    This is sad. The people of Terengganu are great and the beaches are amazing!

  • Anini QC

    Beautiful place