Living,  Travel

Almost 10,000 Malaysian Women Have HIV/AIDS

..and even more women are on the line.

9,494 Malaysian women are HIV/AIDS positive as of December 2011. Women make up 10% of the total of 94,841 cases found in Malaysia since 1986. The heartbreaking news is not over because the number of Malaysian women affected by the incurable disease is vastly increasing, according to Malaysian Health Ministry. 5,005 cases in women are caused by heterosexual relations (as of 2010, according to Malaysian AIDS Council).

“Most women face a greater risk of infection because their husbands or partners had taken drugs or had contracted a sexually transmitted disease,” stated Malaysian AIDS Foundation president Datuk Dr Raj Karim.

Although gender quality has been greatly achieved in various walks of life including job fields, women are still on the lower hand when it comes to sexual consent. Ministry of Health data show that in 2008, more housewives tested HIV-positive than sex workers, with a ratio of 1 sex worker for every five housewives (source: UNICEF Malaysia). Many women are affected by HIV/AIDS from the coerced sexual intercourse without protections. The fact that women still need to fight for the rights of their own bodies is a punch in the face for the ‘modern’ society we are living today. It means, women are not fully emancipated, yet.

Even in the holy grail of liberalism America, women are still being gambled upon in terms of violence and reproductive healthcare. America is the only G20 country who has yet to sign the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (source: Forbes). Adding salt to the wound is the decision on rules & regulations of reproductive rights; which will allow women to solely decide on abortion and contraception. Different presidential candidates are using women’s reproductive rights to win people’s sympathy – and that is just plain cruel. Women are not politics’ toys!

India recently shocked us by rated as the worst country for women to live in (source: Trustlaw by Thompson Reuters Foundation), ranked even lower than the usual suspect Saudi Arabia. India is a fast developing country but it still suffers from cases of females ‘still being sold as chattels, married off as children, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes, exploitation and abused as domestic slave labour’ despite the Domestic Violence Act enacted in 2005 (read: Canada Best Country for Women, India Rated Worst).

Malaysian government, and also other governments in the world, need to realise that a country could never be fully developed if women’s rights are not properly regulated. The Malaysian AIDS Council noted that in 1986, no women in Malaysia were affected by HIV/AIDS, but the numbers have constantly gone up. 904 women have been killed by HIV/AIDS as of 2010.

..for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And that also means sexual dedication to our male counterpart – but it is NOT dedication when you are risking your life, maybe even your future children’s lives, with the deadly disease.

Dear young Malaysian women, you own the full rights to your bodies. So never let anyone else force any sexual decisions on you, or take away the long healthy life you have in front of you.

To know more about women & HIV/AIDS, contact:

The Malaysian AIDS Council
No 12, Jln 13/48A
The Boulevard Shop Office
Off Jalan Sentul
51000 Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA

Or

P.O. Box 11642
50762 Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA

Phone – (603) 4045-1033
Fax – (603) 4042-6133
E-mail – contactus@mac.org.my

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Malaysian.AIDS.Council

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