Minah Karan, the stigmatizing label appended to Malay factory women in the 1980s, signaled a dangerous female sexuality that risked spreading beyond the factory gates and infecting Malaysia's idea(l)s of its traditional kampung culture. This article narrates how Minah Karan, as the former antihero of development, was reconstituted in the 1990s, with the government's labeling of factories as "high-risk settings" for HIV/AIDS. This is an ethnoetiology based not on any evidential epidemiological data but on the racial and gendered "mixing" that transpires behind factory walls: a fear that the "mixing of the sexes" means ipso facto "sexual mixing" among the races. The article demonstrates how importation of the high-risk label articulates at the local level the new and contested linkages, economic, religious, and scientific, constitutive of globalization. The pragmatic nature and imperatives of this high-risk process are discerned in factory women's accounts of how they negotiate the interactional imperatives of factory work, because transnational structures of productivity violate the social boundaries that have long connoted political stability, moral integrity, ethnic community, and individual safety. The article concludes by questioning whether ethnoetiologies, especially when they concern sexual networks, become social etiologies, because this would locate ethnoetiologies as central to conventional public health praxis rather than as ethnographic exotica in the margins.
Pre-incarceration HIV transmission behaviors and current attitudes toward opioid substitution therapy (OST) among HIV-infected male prisoners in Malaysia have important implications for secondary HIV prevention efforts.
Occupational risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is a matter of concern for health care workers. We conducted a study to gauge the level of awareness amongst HCW (doctors and nurses) working in Hospital Sungai Petani regarding the post-exposure prophylaxis in case of needle stick injuries from confirmed or suspected cases of HIV. Nineteen Doctors (56%) and 13 nurses (25%) were aware of correct risk of transmission. None identified all the four risk fluids correctly. 94% of doctors and 98% of nurses correctly stated that washing the site with soap and water is the initial procedure, but only few (1/10 of doctors and 1/3 of nurses) knew whom to contact immediately after injury. Twenty three doctors (67%) and 41(78%) nurses were aware of the use of Zidovudine but only 10 participants were aware of the use of second drug. Only 6 doctors (17%) and 8 nurses (15%) knew the correct duration of post-exposure prophylaxis. Twenty-three doctors (67%) and 35 nurses (67%) knew that the drugs were available in Hospital Pharmacy and 11 doctors and 12 nurses knew the approximate cost of therapy. On the average about 50% of doctors and nurses have fair knowledge of post exposure prophylaxis against HIV. Ongoing awareness and training are necessary to improve the same.
Co-infections with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human pegivirus (HPgV) are common in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. However, analysis on the evolutionary dynamics and transmission network profiles of these viruses among individuals with multiple infections remains limited. A total of 228 injecting drug users (IDUs), either HCV- and/or HIV-1-infected, were recruited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genes were sequenced, with epidemic growth rates assessed by the Bayesian coalescent method. Based on the sequence data, mono-, dual- and triple-infection were detected in 38.8%, 40.6% and 20.6% of the subjects, respectively. Fifteen transmission networks involving HCV (subtype 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b), HIV-1 (CRF33_01B) and HPgV (genotype 2) were identified and characterized. Genealogical estimates indicated that the predominant HCV, HIV-1 and HPgV genotypes were introduced into the IDUs population through multiple sub-epidemics that emerged as early as 1950s (HCV), 1980s (HIV-1) and 1990s (HPgV). By determining the difference in divergence times between viral lineages (ΔtMRCA), we also showed that the frequency of viral co-transmission is low among these IDUs. Despite increased access to therapy and other harm reduction interventions, the continuous emergence and coexistence of new transmission networks suggest persistent multiple viral transmissions among IDUs.
A novel HIV-1 recombinant clade (CRF51_01B) was recently identified among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore. As cases of sexually transmitted HIV-1 infection increase concurrently in two socioeconomically intimate countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, cross transmission of HIV-1 between said countries is highly probable. In order to investigate the timeline for the emergence of HIV-1 CRF51_01B in Singapore and its possible introduction into Malaysia, 595 HIV-positive subjects recruited in Kuala Lumpur from 2008 to 2012 were screened. Phylogenetic relationship of 485 amplified polymerase gene sequences was determined through neighbour-joining method. Next, near-full length sequences were amplified for genomic sequences inferred to be CRF51_01B and subjected to further analysis implemented through Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling and maximum likelihood methods. Based on the near full length genomes, two isolates formed a phylogenetic cluster with CRF51_01B sequences of Singapore origin, sharing identical recombination structure. Spatial and temporal information from Bayesian MCMC coalescent and maximum likelihood analysis of the protease, gp120 and gp41 genes suggest that Singapore is probably the country of origin of CRF51_01B (as early as in the mid-1990s) and featured a Malaysian who acquired the infection through heterosexual contact as host for its ancestral lineages. CRF51_01B then spread rapidly among the MSM in Singapore and Malaysia. Although the importation of CRF51_01B from Singapore to Malaysia is supported by coalescence analysis, the narrow timeframe of the transmission event indicates a closely linked epidemic. Discrepancies in the estimated divergence times suggest that CRF51_01B may have arisen through multiple recombination events from more than one parental lineage. We report the cross transmission of a novel CRF51_01B lineage between countries that involved different sexual risk groups. Understanding the cross-border transmission of HIV-1 involving sexual networks is crucial for effective intervention strategies in the region.
The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of East Malaysian adolescents on sexual and reproductive health issues. Data were collected in March-July 2015 from 2858 adolescents aged 13-18 years from selected East Malaysian secondary schools using a self-administered questionnaire. Twelve items relating to sexual and reproductive health were used to measure respondents' knowledge based on their responses 'True', 'False' or 'Don't know', with the proportion of correct answers being the variable of interest. Cronbach's alpha for the twelve items was 0.761 and the mean knowledge score was 6.8. While the majority of the respondents knew that a woman can get pregnant if she has sex with a man and that HIV and AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, knowledge about Malaysia's abortion laws, that a woman can get pregnant if she has sex only once and that people with sexually transmitted infections may look healthy was poor. Older respondents and those from urban schools reported significantly higher knowledge than younger respondents and those from rural schools, respectively. More emphasis should be given in schools to the specific topics for which low levels of sexual and reproductive health knowledge were found, with greater attention being given to younger adolescents and those in rural areas.
Opium has been produced and consumed since the nineteenth century in the areas of Asia currently referred to as the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. In the 1970s and 1980s, most countries from Afghanistan to Japan experienced a heroin epidemic of varying degrees of severity. Opium and heroin abuse appeared to be more severe in countries and areas where those drugs were produced, an exception being Hong Kong, which has had a large population of heroin abusers for more than two decades. Drug injecting was far more common in countries of the Golden Triangle than in those of the Golden Crescent. In Myanmar and Thailand, for example, up to 90 per cent of chronic heroin abusers practised intravenous injection, which appeared to spread to heroin abusers in nearby territories such as the State of Manipur in India. Yunnan province in China, as well as Malaysia and Viet Nam. Amphetamine abuse was more frequent in Japan and the Republic of Korea for a number of years, while illicit production and consumption in the Philippines have recently shown significant increases. The injection of amphetamines was common only in the Republic of Korea. The prevalence of injecting among institutionalized methamphetamine abusers was reported at about 90 per cent. Most countries in Asia first reported cases of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the mid-1980s. An extremely rapid spead of the epidemic and high prevalence, at rates of from 30 to 90 per cent, of HIV infection among the sample of intravenous heroin abusers were observed in a few countries with a high prevalence of intravenous injecting, such as India (in the State of Manipur), Myanmar and Thailand. The rest had either few reported cases or none at all, even though needle-sharing was found to be common. Great caution should be exercised in interpreting prevalence because of vast differences in methods of assessment. Given the vulnerability of intravenous drug abusers to rapid transmission of HIV infection, the prevention of drug injecting is of paramount importance in arresting the spread of the epidemic. Efforts to contain drug abuse, though difficult, are a principal means of achieving that end.
Opium dependence was indigenous to countries in the Golden Triangle area in south-east Asia (SA). Heroin epidemics developed in most SA countries in the 1960s and early 1970s and remained a significant problem particularly in Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia until now. In contrast, the island countries in SA seemed quite free from opiate abuse. Intravenous injection (IV) of drugs appeared after the heroin epidemic and currently prevails in countries with a significant opiate abuse problem. IV of opium was particularly common in the highly urbanized cities in Vietnam. Most SA countries started HIV seroscreening in IV drug users (IVDU) around the middle of the 1980s. Rapid epidemic spread of HIV infection was observed in 1988-89 in Thailand and Myanmar. The Highest prevalence of more than 80% was reported from a study of IVDUs in Yangon, Myanmar, followed by Thailand at about 40%. Although HIV infected IVDUs were identified at the same time in Malaysia and later in Singapore and the Philippines, there was no evidence of such a rapid and severe epidemic.
The incidence of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific will soon pass that in Africa and is projected to increase into the next century. The AIDS epidemic arising from these infections will have enormous consequences for the health and socioeconomic development of a region encompassing more than half the world's population.
HIV-1 epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to expand in developed and developing countries. Although HIV infection in MSM is amongst the highest of the key affected populations in many countries in Southeast Asia, comprehensive molecular epidemiological study of HIV-1 among MSM remains inadequate in the region including in Malaysia. Here, we reported the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 genotypes circulating among MSM population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total of n = 459 newly-diagnosed treatment-naïve consenting subjects were recruited between March 2006 and August 2012, of whom 87 (18.9%) were self-reported MSM. Transmitted drug resistance mutations were absent in these isolates. Cumulatively, phylogenetic reconstructions of the pro-rt gene (HXB2∶2253-3275) showed that HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE were predominant and contributed to approximately 80% of the total HIV-1 infection among MSM. In addition to numerous unique transmission lineages within these genotypes, twelve monophyletic transmission clusters of different sizes (2-7 MSM sequences, supported by posterior probability value of 1) were identified in Malaysia. Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated that the divergence times for these clusters were mainly dated between 1995 and 2005 with four major transmission clusters radiating at least 12 years ago suggesting that active spread of multiple sub-epidemic clusters occurred during this period. The changes in effective population size of subtype B showed an exponential growth within 5 years between 1988 and 1993, while CRF01_AE lineage exhibited similar expansion between 1993 and 2003. Our study provides the first insight of the phylodynamic profile of HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE circulating among MSM population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, unravelling the importance of understanding transmission behaviours as well as evolutionary history of HIV-1 in assessing the risk of outbreak or epidemic expansion.
According to WHO, Malaysia has been classified as a concentrated epidemic country due to progression of HIV infection in the population of injecting drug users. The main objectives of current study are to determine the prevalence of HBV among HIV-positive individuals in a tertiary care hospital of Malaysia and to assess the predictors involved in the outcomes of HIV-HBV co-infected patients. A retrospective, cross-sectional study is conducted at Hospital Palau Pinang, Malaysia. The collection of socio-demographic data as well as clinical data is done with the help of data collection form. Data were analyzed after putting the collected values of required data by using statistical software SPSS version 20.0 and P > 0.05 is considered as significant. Results show that the overall prevalence of HBV was 86 (13%) including 495 (74.5%) males and 169 (25.5%) females among a total of 664 HIV-infected patients. It was observed that there is a high prevalence of HIV-HBV co-infection in males 76 (11.4%) as compared to females 10 (1.5%) (P = 0.002). The median age of the study population was 39 years. The statistical significant risk factors involved in the outcomes of HIV-HBV co-infected patients were observed in the variables of gender, age groups, and injecting drug users. The findings of the present study shows that the prevalence of HBV infection among HIV-positive patients was 13% and the risk factors involved in the outcomes of HIV-HBV co-infected patients were gender, age, and intravenous drug users.
PURPOSE: To examine differences between Australian-born and Asian-born first-year university students in Sydney in their sexual behavior and knowledge about the prevention and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
METHODS: Students were recruited from a stall during the student Orientation Week in both 2002 and 2003 at the University of New South Wales. A short questionnaire was completed and returned anonymously. Data on age, gender, country of birth, sexual behavior, and sexual health knowledge were collected. A score was calculated based on the sum of the correct answers given to 12 HIV/STI transmission and prevention questions. The students were then divided into three groups according to their country of birth (Australia, Asia, and elsewhere) and their knowledge scores were compared. Students born in certain Asian countries were also asked their perception of the HIV epidemic in their home country compared with Australia.
RESULTS: A total of 1185 first-year students completed the questionnaire. Although older on average, Asian-born students were less likely to have had sexual intercourse and had had fewer sexual partners. They also had consistently poorer HIV/STI knowledge scores than Australian-born students. Students born in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore but not Thailand underestimated the prevalence of HIV in their country of birth in comparison with Australia.
CONCLUSION: The combination of poorer knowledge, apparent misconception of the extent of HIV epidemic in their home country (or Australia), and potential later frequent travel indicates a potential risk for later transmission of HIV/STIs. The university is an underused setting for prevention health education.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has spread widely among injecting drug users (IDUs) in countries to the north and west of the 'Golden Triangle' region of South-East Asia; it is likely to have spread southwards to Malaysia as well. In order to assess HIV seroprevalence among IDUs in north-east Malaysia and describe risk factors for HIV infection in this population, we performed a cross-sectional seroepidemiological study among 210 IDUs recruited at the detoxification ward of the General Hospital in the capital city of the north-eastern Malaysian state, Kelantan. Subjects were sequential entrants to the detoxification ward, interviewed about HIV risk behaviour, and tested for antibody to HIV and to syphilis. Nearly a third (62/210, 30%) of these IDUs were HIV seropositive. Three-quarters (159/210) had travelled to Thailand in the preceding 5 years, of whom 32% (51/159) were HIV seropositive; this was associated with injecting in Thailand, but not with sexual contact there. Of those who had not left Malaysia in the preceding 5 years, 26% (11/43) were HIV seropositive, a rate not significantly different from those who had travelled. Travel within Malaysia was common (144/210, 69%) among IDUs interviewed, as was unsafe injecting and unsafe sexual behaviour (20% had shared injecting equipment and 21% had had unprotected intercourse) in other states. In every locale, rates of unsafe injecting behaviour were high (55% sharing in last month), even among those who knew they were HIV infected, and rates of condom usage were low (93% of 160 sexually active IDUs had never used a condom). Syphilis was not associated with HIV infection, but with contact with Thai prostitutes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
One hundred and seventy-one drug-dependent females in a drug rehabilitation centre were studied to estimate the prevalence of HIV infection among them. Twenty-four (14%) were positive on the Western Blot test. The presence of HIV infection was significantly correlated with syphilis (p < 0.03) and age (p < 0.001); 83% of those who were HIV positive were intravenous drug users. The need for harm reduction programmes to prevent spread of HIV infection among injecting drug users is stressed.
Kelantan, a northeastern state in Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the states that has been acutely hit by injecting drug user (IDU)-driven HIV epidemic, in addition to having a high number of infected women in Malaysia. This cross-sectional study describes the socio-demographic characteristics, HIV risk factors, risk perception, and adoption of preventive behaviors among female partners of IDUs in Kelantan. Out of 101 women, the majority of them are from low socioeconomic background and have no other risk factors besides heterosexual HIV transmission from their male IDU partners. Although 45.5% have not been tested for HIV and more than half (53.5%) of them did not use condoms during sexual intercourse, only 44.6% of the women perceived themselves to be at risk of being infected with HIV. Most of the women (86.1%) were willing to undergo voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Female partners of IDUs continue to be vulnerable to HIV due to having sexual contact with IDUs, and also due to their socioeconomic position in the community. To prevent HIV transmission among female partners of IDUs, consolidating HIV prevention efforts from multiple approaches is needed.
This research, commissioned by the Malaysian AIDS Council in 2007, is qualitative and descriptive in nature. In depth face-to-face interviews were carried out with 15 mak nyah respondents from five major towns. The interviews were guided by an interview schedule that had seven main topics: brief background; hormone-taking behaviour; safe sex; health care; substance abuse; harassment from authorities; and HIV prevention. The HIV problem among the mak nyah, mak nyah sex workers and their clients is critical. Many do not have in-depth HIV/AIDS knowledge and do not practise safe sex. The problem gets worse when most mak nyah do not consider HIV/AIDS as a primary concern because of other pressing problems like employment and discrimination. There are also no HIV prevention activities in many parts of Malaysia. Mak nyah also face constant harassment from enforcement authorities for prostitution. This hampers HIV prevention work.
HIV/AIDS poses a serious threat to young people, both in Malaysia and throughout the world. A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HIV/AIDS among the Malaysian public. This article reports the findings of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among young adults.