Faced with a rising HIV epidemic among injecting drug users, harm reduction policies and programs were introduced in Malaysia in 2005. The positive impact seen since the introduction of these programs comprise the inclusion of the health aspects of illicit drug use in the country's drug policies; better access to antiretroviral therapy for injecting drug users who are HIV infected; reduction in HIV-risk behavior; and greater social benefits, including increased employment. Despite these achievements, tension between law enforcement and public health persists, as harm reduction exists alongside an overall drug policy that is based on abstinence and zero tolerance. Unless there is harmonization of this policy, sustainability and scale-up of harm reduction programs will remain a challenge.
Over the last three decades in response to a rise in substance use in the region, many countries in East and Southeast Asia responded by establishing laws and policies that allowed for compulsory detention in the name of treatment for people who use drugs. These centers have recently come under international scrutiny with a call for their closure in a Joint Statement from United Nations entities in March 2012. The UN's response was a result of concern for human rights violations, including the lack of consent for treatment and due process protections for compulsory detention, the lack of general healthcare and evidence based drug dependency treatment and in some centers, of forced labor and physical and sexual abuse (United Nations, 2012). A few countries have responded to this call with evidence of an evolving response for community-based voluntary treatment; however progress is likely going to be hampered by existing laws and policies, the lack of skilled human resource and infrastructure to rapidly establish evidence based community treatment centers in place of these detention centers, pervasive stigmatization of people who use drugs and the ongoing tensions between the abstinence-based model of treatment as compared to harm reduction approaches in many of these affected countries.
HIV management in people who use drugs (PWUD) is typically complex and challenging due to the presence of multiple medical and psychiatric comorbidities as well as social, physical, economic and legal factors that often disrupt the HIV continuum of care. In this review, we describe the individual, health systems and societal barriers to HIV treatment access and care retention for PWUD. In addition, the clinical management of HIV-infected PWUD is often complicated by the presence of multiple infectious and noninfectious comorbidities.
Community-based HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services is an effective alternative for mapping the local demographics of at-risk populations for HIV as well as provide an acceptable and reliable means of early detection of HIV. We describe the profiles of men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) who sought VCT services in a community based centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Although drugs are haram and therefore prohibited in Islam, illicit drug use is widespread in many Islamic countries throughout the world. In the last several years increased prevalence of this problem has been observed in many of these countries which has in turn led to increasing injecting drug use driven HIV/AIDS epidemic across the Islamic world. Whilst some countries have recently responded to the threat through the implementation of harm reduction programmes, many others have been slow to respond. In Islam, The Quran and the Prophetic traditions or the Sunnah are the central sources of references for the laws and principles that guide the Muslims' way of life and by which policies and guidelines for responses including that of contemporary social and health problems can be derived. The preservation and protection of the dignity of man, and steering mankind away from harm and destruction are central to the teachings of Islam. When viewed through the Islamic principles of the preservation and protection of the faith, life, intellect, progeny and wealth, harm reduction programmes are permissible and in fact provide a practical solution to a problem that could result in far greater damage to the society at large if left unaddressed.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a well recognised occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). Concerns on the safety of healthcare settings in Malaysia was raised following a report of 25 HCWs working in 11 general hospitals in Malaysia who were infected with TB in 2004 being publicised in the media recently. As the disease burden in general is high in Malaysia, due attention should be given to this disease in our healthcare facilities including the radiology department, an often neglected area in TB infection control programmes. This article focuses on the key control measures that can be implemented in radiology departments in a developing country with limited resources.
Active tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among the HIV-1 seropositive individuals. Although significant success has been achieved in bringing down the number of HIV/AIDS-related mortality and morbidity following implementation of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). Yet, co-infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has posed severe clinical and preventive challenges in our efforts to eradicate the virus from the body. Both HIV-1 and Mtb commonly infect macrophages and trigger production of host inflammatory mediators that subsequently regulate the immune response and disease pathogenesis. These inflammatory mediators can impose beneficial or detrimental effects on each pathogen and eventually on host. Among these, inflammatory C-C chemokines play a central role in HIV-1 and Mtb pathogenesis. However, their role in lung-specific mechanisms of HIV-1 and Mtb interaction are poorly understood. In this review we highlight current view on the role of C-C chemokines, more precisely CCL2, on HIV-1: Mtb interaction, potential mechanisms of action and adverse clinical consequences in a setting HIV-1/Mtb co-infection. Targeting common chemokine regulators of HIV-1/Mtb pathogenesis can be an attractive and potential anti-inflammatory intervention in HIV/AIDS-related comorbidities.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and the main cause of death in correctional facilities in middle- and low-income countries. Due to the closed environment and the concentration of individuals with TB-related risk factors, effective measures are required to control TB in such settings. Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) represents an effective and cost-effective measure. Despite international recommendations that IPT be integral to TB control, it is seldom deployed. A systematic review of interventions used to assess IPT initiation and completion in correctional facilities was conducted using published studies from two biomedical databases and relevant keywords. Additional references were reviewed, resulting in 18 eligible studies. Most (72%) studies were conducted in the United States and in jail settings (60%), with the main objective of improving completion rates inside the facility or after release. Studies that provided data about initiation and completion rates showed poor success in correctional facilities. Adverse consequences and treatment interruption ranged from 1% to 55% (median 5%) in reported studies; hepatotoxicity was the most prevalent adverse reaction. Despite its accelerating effect on the development of active TB, information on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status was provided in only half of the studies. Among the four studies where IPT effectiveness was assessed, the results mirror those described in community settings. Future studies require thorough assessments of IPT initiation and completion rates and adverse effects, particularly in low- and middle-income countries and where comorbid viral hepatitis may contribute significantly to outcomes, and in settings where TB and HIV are more endemic.
This is a retrospective descriptive study of the chest imaging findings of 118 patients with confirmed A(H1N1) in a tertiary referral centre. About 42% of the patients had positive initial chest radiographic (CXR) findings. The common findings were bi-basal air-space opacities and perihilar reticular and alveolar infiltrates. In select cases, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) imaging showed ground-glass change with some widespread reticular changes and atelectasis.
Over the past decade, a number of unique zoonotic and non-zoonotic viruses have emerged in Malaysia. Several of these viruses have resulted in significant morbidity and mortality to those affected and they have imposed a tremendous public health and economic burden on the state. Amongst the most devastating was the outbreak of Nipah virus encephalitis in 1998, which resulted in 109 deaths. The culling of more than a million pigs, identified as the amplifying host, ultimately brought the outbreak under control. A year prior to this, and subsequently again in 2000 and 2003, large outbreaks of hand-foot-and-mouth disease due to enterovirus 71, with rare cases of fatal neurological complications, were reported in young children. Three other new viruses - Tioman virus (1999), Pulau virus (1999), and Melaka virus (2006) - whose origins have all been linked to bats, have been added to the growing list of novel viruses being discovered in Malaysia. The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has also been detected in Malaysia with outbreaks in poultry in 2004, 2006, and 2007. Fortunately, no human infections were reported. Finally, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has seen the emergence of an HIV-1 recombinant form (CRF33_01B) in HIV-infected individuals from various risk groups, with evidence of ongoing and rapid expansion.
In Malaysia the response to illicit drug use has been largely punitive with the current goal of the Malaysian government being to achieve a drug-free society by 2015. This paper outlines the results of a desk-based situation assessment conducted over a 3-week period in 2004. Additional events, examined in 2005, were also included to describe more recent policy developments and examine how these came about. Despite punitive drug policy there has been a substantial rise in the number of drug users in the country. Over two-thirds of HIV/AIDS cases are among injecting drug users (IDUs) and there has been an exponential rise in the number of cases reported. Further, data suggest high risk drug use practices are widespread. Harm reduction initiatives have only recently been introduced in Malaysia. The successful piloting of substitution therapies, in particular methadone and buprenorphine, is cause for genuine hope for the rapid development of such interventions. In 2005 the government announced it will allow methadone maintenance programmes to operate beyond the pilot phase and needle and syringe exchange programmes will be established to serve the needs of IDUs.
Kostmann's syndrome is a rare congenital disorder of neutrophil production due to impairment of myeloid differentiation in the bone marrow, with the neutrophil count being characteristically less than 500 x 10(3) cells/l (normal: 2-7 x 10(9)/l). Severe persistent neutropenia results in an increased susceptibility to frequent bacterial infections. The condition can be treated with recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Although several articles have addressed the clinicopathological and haematological aspects of this disorder, little or no information has been available concerning the radiological findings in this disorder. This report summarizes the clinical features, radiological findings and management of a patient with Kostmann's syndrome.
To assess the prevalence of mutations associated with drug resistance in antiretroviral-naive patients in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, genotypic resistance testing was conducted among drug-naive HIV-1 patients attending the University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) between July 2003 and June 2004. Reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease genes of plasma virions were sequenced from 100 individuals. The majority of the patients were recently diagnosed. Codons 20-255 of the RT and 1-96 of the protease gene were examined for major and minor mutations associated with antiretroviral resistance reported by the International AIDS Society- USA (IAS-USA) Drug Resistance Mutations Group. The prevalence of patients with at least one major mutation conferring drug resistance was 1%, with only one patient having a Y181C amino acid substitution in the RT gene that confers high-level resistance to nevirapine and delavirdine. Minor mutations were detected in high prevalence in the protease gene. Amino acid substitutions I13V, E35D, and M36I were associated with CRF01_AE while L63P, V77I, and I93L were associated with subtype B. Baseline prevalence of major mutations associated with resistance to antiretroviral drugs was low among antiretroviral-naive HIV-1 patients, suggesting that routine drug resistance testing may be unnecessary for all individuals newly diagnosed with HIV or all patients beginning antiretroviral therapy.
To assess the prevalence of major drug resistance mutations in antiretroviral (ARV)-treated patients with detectable viral load (VL) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, genotypic resistance testing was performed among treated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) patients attending the University Malaya Medical Center between July 2003 and November 2004. The reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease genes from 36 plasma samples with detectable VL were examined for major mutations associated with ARV resistance as reported by the International AIDS Society-USA Drug Resistance Mutations Group. The prevalence of patients with at least one major mutation conferring drug resistance to nucleoside RT inhibitors (NRTIs), non-NRTIs (NNRTIs) or protease inhibitors (PIs) was 77.8%. In the RT gene, the frequency of mutations associated with NRTIs and NNRTIs resistance was 52.8 and 63.9%, respectively, with M184V and K103N mutations being selected most frequently by these drugs. A patient with Q151M mutation complex was also detected. Twenty-two percent of the patients had mutations associated with PIs. The following pattern of prevalence of ARV-resistant HIV-1 variants was observed: NNRTI-resistant > NRTI-resistant > PI-resistant. The prevalence of major drug resistance mutations among ARV-treated patients with detectable VL is high in Kuala Lumpur. Genotypic drug resistance testing is therefore important for monitoring patients experiencing ARV regimen failure.