HIV is no barrier to Health and Equality

Know Your risks, Know Your Status

by Anne Das

In conjunction with World Aids Day this year, The Buddies Society of Ipoh, Perak are organising an awareness campaign tomorrow – Friday, 2nd December 2022 at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, here.

The Buddies Society of Ipoh is an NGO which supports People Living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) including their family, and friends. Their main goal is ensuring every patient is equipped with knowledge regarding their illness. They are committed to stopping new cases of HIV, securing the rights of people living with HIV and fighting the HIV stigma and discrimination.

While the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Perak has been falling steadily over the last decade, it still needs more exposure — particularly given the fact that more than 20 percent of those with HIV do not know they have it.

Speaking with Muhamad Bin Zakaria, Chairman of The Buddies Society, Ipoh

Society’s stigma against HIV/AIDS patients are still prevalent, and needs to be eradicated immediately, because with modern treatment methods available today, this disease is no longer a major threat, in fact, those with diabetes require more care than HIV/AIDS patients,” he said.

“Unsafe sex has been identified as the main cause behind HIV/AIDS infections in the country, a total of 125,878 HIV/AIDS patients were recorded nationwide in 2021, with 90% of them being men. The actual number is estimated to be much higher, since patients are ashamed to get tested and refuse to register with the Health Ministry for treatment.

According to statistics in 2021 by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the pattern of HIV/AIDS infections in the last 10 years has changed significantly, where cases of infection caused by using needles are no longer the biggest contributor. Alarmingly 70% of new HIV infections were among people aged 20 to 39 years, due to unsafe sex, especially among same sex individuals”.

HIV can be found in body fluids, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is transmitted through penetrative (anal or vaginal) sex, blood transfusion, the sharing of contaminated needles and between mother and infant during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Although the HIV infection often does not cause any onset symptoms, a person newly infected with HIV is infectious and can transmit the virus to another person. The HIV infection causes a gradual depletion and weakening of the immune system which results in an increased susceptibility to infection, cancers and if not treated can develop signs of AIDS within eight to 10 years.

AIDS is identified based on certain infections.

  • Stage 1 HIV disease is asymptomatic and not categorized as AIDS.
  • Stage II (includes minor mucocutaneous manifestations and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections),
  • Stage III (includes unexplained chronic diarrhoea for longer than a month, severe bacterial infections, and pulmonary tuberculosis) or
  • Stage IV (includes toxoplasmosis of the brain, candidiasis of the oesophagus, trachea, bronchi or lungs and Kaposi’s sarcoma)

The HIV disease is used as indicators of AIDS. Most of these conditions are opportunistic infections that can be treated easily in healthy people.

The test is easily available, simple, and painless. This service is provided FREE OF CHARGE with us,  at all government health clinics and hospitals. Your personal details and blood test results are kept confidential.

Other than providing support service for people living with HIV/AIDS, the Buddies Society of Ipoh also strives on prevention by way of creating awareness amongst the public. This is done through exhibitions and talks. Some of the volunteers here are trained to educate the public on HIV/AIDS at venues such as schools, universities, clubs, or factories.

People of Perak who may be interested in conducting awareness programs at their schools, clubs, universities or even workplaces, please do not hesitate to contact The Buddies Society of Ipoh, Perak for arrangements.

If you have any enquiries or concerns, do WhatsApp us at 019-573-1021.


Follow us on Instagram: buddies_official2004

HIV/ AIDS Educational Exhibition

Date: 2/12/2022 (Friday)
Location: Pedestrian Walkway HRPB
(between Specialist Clinics & Emergency Department)
Time: 830 am – 12.30pm

Everyone is Welcome!

Volunteers from The Buddies Society Ipoh, Perak at the University Pendidikan Sultan Idris Tanjung Malim on 23rd of November 2022
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