This research aimed to determine HIV prevalence, risk behaviour and knowledge of transmission methods among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Venue-day-time sampling (VDTS) was applied to identify venues where men congregate to solicit sex from other men. Participants recruited from clubs, massage parlours, saunas and one park self-completed a computerized behavioural questionnaire, were administered an oral rapid HIV test and given the opportunity to return later to receive full counselling and learn their HIV status. A total of 517 men were enrolled into the study. The majority were Malays (47.0%) and Chinese (43.7%). Twenty tested HIV positive (3.9%). Significant predictors of HIV infection included having unprotected anal sex with a casual partner (44.9% of participants, odds ratio [OR] = 2.99; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-7.90; P = 0.027), having unprotected receptive anal sex (27.9%, OR = 2.71; 95% CI 1.10-6.54; P = 0.030) and having group sex (33.3%, OR = 3.95; 95% CI 1.55-10.09; P = 0.004). One in five participants (20.1% and 19.5%) did not believe that HIV could be transmitted through insertive or receptive anal sex, respectively. Risk behaviour is high and knowledge of HIV transmission methods was low among MSM in Kuala Lumpur. Future prevention efforts should focus on providing risk reduction education to this community.
HIV-infected prisoners face an inordinate number of community re-entry challenges. In 2007, 102 HIV-infected prisoners in Malaysia were surveyed anonymously within six months prior to release to assess the prevalence and correlates of community re-entry challenges. Staying out of prison (60.8%), remaining off drugs (39.2%), finding employment (35.3%) and obtaining HIV care (32.4%) were the re-entry challenges reported most frequently. Global stigma, negative self-image and public attitudes-related stigma were independently associated with challenges to obtaining HIV care. In multivariate analyses, those with previous incarcerations (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-7.6), higher HIV-related symptoms (AOR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.0-4.1) and higher public attitudes-related stigma (AOR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.2-5.1) had a significantly higher likelihood of identifying more re-entry challenges. Targeted interventions, such as effective drug treatment, HIV care and public awareness campaigns, are crucial for stemming the HIV epidemic and improving health outcomes among HIV-infected prisoners in Malaysia.
More than 150 million women become pregnant in developing countries annually and an estimated 287,000 die from pregnancy-related causes. Contraception is vital to prevent unnecessary maternal deaths, as well as sexually transmitted infections. The objective of this study was to investigate preferred contraceptive methods and the factors that influence contraceptive choice among women in Kelantan, Malaysia. A cross-sectional study using interview-based questionnaires was conducted, during July and August 2009, in local family planning clinics in Kelantan. The questionnaire was administered to adult women (age 20-50). Prevalence of unplanned pregnancies was high (48%). Contraceptive preference was Depo contraceptive injection (32%), oral contraceptive pills (27%), intrauterine devices (15%) and contraceptive implants (12%); 9% used condoms. Only 2% used contraception to protect against sexually transmitted infections or HIV/AIDS. Younger women (OR 0.90; 95% CI 0.807-0.993) were more likely to use contraception. In conclusion, non-interrupted contraceptive methods were preferred. More than 60% would stop using contraception if it interrupted intercourse. From both a public health and infectious disease perspective, this is extremely worrying.
A cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine the clinical profile, haematological and biochemical changes, seroprevalence of common opportunistic pathogens, and AIDS-defining events in 49 Malaysian male drug addicts with HIV infection. Their mean age was 33.2 years, the majority had been injecting drugs for more than 5 years and 88% reporting sharing needles. Fatigue, weight loss and night sweats were common presenting symptoms and the most frequent physical findings were hepatomegaly (57%), lymphadenopathy (35%) and thrush (29%). Pulmonary infections were the commonest complications seen (61%) and of these, 13 had septic pulmonary emboli, 7 had bacterial pneumonias, 7 had pulmonary tuberculosis, and 4 had Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Eight patients had infective endocarditis and 5 had infected pseudoaneurysm in the groin. Anaemia (82%), leucocytosis (53%), hypoalbuminaemia (43%), hyperglobulinaemia (88%), elevated liver enzymes and hyponatraemia (57%) were frequent laboratory findings. The prevalence of HCV, HBV, cytomegalovirus and toxoplasma infection (by serology) were 100%, 12.2%, 72.7% and 59% respectively. All 7 patients with AIDS (4 P. carinii pneumonia, 2 extrapulmonary tuberculosis, and one oesophageal candidiasis) presented with their AIDS-defining illness, suggesting that HIV-infected intravenous drug user (IVDU) patients present late in the course of the disease.
Hema-Strip HIV-1/2 is a one-step rapid test for the detection of anti-HIV-1/2 antibodies in whole blood. The test requires no expensive equipment and the results are available within 10-15 min. Using 72 known HIV-1 positive samples and 780 high-risk prisoners, the sensitivity and specificity of Hema-Strip HIV-1/2 was found to be comparable to microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA). The data also indicated that Hema-Strip HIV-1/2 is an effective alternate testing system to conventional ELISA where the use of ELISA is not suitable and the result of the HIV testing is needed urgently.
HIV spread in South and South-East Asia is most alarming, and genetic variability of HIV-1 is an important consideration in vaccine development. In this study, we examined the third variable (V3) region of env gene of HIV-1 variants prevalent in Thailand, Malaysia, India, and the Philippines. By phylogenetic tree analyses, an HIV-1 variant from an injecting drug user (IDU) in Thailand belonged to subtype B, and HIV-1 variants from 2 IDUs in Malaysia were classified into 2 subtypes, B and E. One HIV-1 variant from a male homosexual in the Philippines belonged to subtype B. Out of 8 HIV-1 variants from sexually transmitted disease patients in India, 7 belonged to subtype C, and one to subtype A. Although the total number of individuals examined in this study was limited, 4 HIV-1 subtypes were found in South and South-East Asia and large international movements of HIV-1-infected individuals in this region could induce global dissemination of these HIV-1 variants.
A study was conducted to determine the feasibility of establishing a sentinel human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) surveillance system involving patients with sexually transmitted diseases attending private clinics and a government sexually transmitted disease clinic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Information on risk behaviours for HIV infection were also collected. A total of 84 female and 91 male patients were interviewed and tested for HIV infection; 41.7% of the women reported working as prostitutes, other occupations included masseuses, hairdressers, waitresses, salesgirls, receptionists, factory workers, and others. The most common diagnosis was gonorrhoea. Other diagnoses included non-specific genital infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, genital herpes and syphilis. 58.3% of the women had a hundred or more sex partners during the previous month; 99% had 6 or more sex partners. Only 4.8% of female patients had their male partners using condoms most of the time, 11.9% hardly used condoms at all. Of the males, 93.3% were heterosexual, while 6.7% were bisexuals, 41.1% had between 6-20 different partners in the previous year. 78.0% of them had prostitutes as their sex partners most of the time. 41.8% had experiences in Thailand and the Philippines. 73.6% never used condoms, while 19.8% only used condoms rarely. Although all patients were tested negative for HIV antibodies, lot quality assurance sampling methods indicate that the upper limits of prevalences for females and males were 3.5% and 3.3% respectively, at a 5% type I error. The study has shown that it is feasible to carry out a sentinel surveillance programme among STD patients and provided useful baseline data for future comparisons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Identifying roles for anal sex is an important issue for populations of MSM. We describe the prevalence of identifying as being 'top', 'bottom', 'versatile', or 'don't know/not applicable' among Malay and Chinese MSM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and behavioural outcomes according to these labels for sexual role identity. Data analysis was conducted on a survey administered during weekly outreach throughout Kuala Lumpur in 2012. Pearson's Chi square tests were used to compare demographic and behavioural characteristics of MSM who reported roles for anal sex. Binary logistic regression was used to explore the odds of behavioural outcomes among MSM who identified as 'bottom', 'versatile,' and 'don't know' compared to MSM who reported that 'top' was their sexual role. Labels for anal sex roles were significantly associated with condom use for last anal sex. Among MSM who used labels for anal sex roles, MSM who identified as 'bottom' had highest level of not using condoms for last anal sex (24.1%, p = .045). In binary logistic regression model, identifying as 'top' was significantly associated with reporting using a condom during last anal sex and reported consistent condom use for anal sex in the past six months (p = .039 and .017, respectively). With regard to sexual role identity, some MSM may be a part of a special subgroup of at-risk men to be targeted. Future research should evaluate the origins, meanings, and perceptions of these labels, and the developmental process of how these MSM identify with any of these categories. Research should also uncover condom use decision making with regard to these labels for sexual positioning.
In Malaysia, homosexuality is illegal; little is known about access to HIV prevention services among Malaysian men who have sex with men (MSM). We analysed PT Foundation outreach data to describe the profiles among MSM who accessed PT Foundation services and to examine factors associated with being aware of PT Foundation and having visited the organization. A survey was administered during weekly outreach throughout Kuala Lumpur from March-December 2012. Pearson's Chi square tests were used to compare demographic and behavioural characteristics of participants who were and were not aware of the PT Foundation. Binary logistic regression was used to identify correlates of MSM visiting the PT Foundation among those who had heard of the organization. Of 614 MSM, this study found significantly higher awareness of the PT Foundation among MSM who perceived they had "good" HIV knowledge (p = .026) and participants who reported always using condoms (p = .009). MSM who reported being paid for sex were 2.81 times as likely to visit the PT Foundation compared to men who did not. A subgroup of MSM known to be at high risk for HIV infection is accessing prevention services. Future studies should uncover motivations and barriers of accessing these services among MSM in Malaysia.
To explore the heterogeneity of CD4 responses following highly active antiretroviral therapy, the patterns of CD4 recovery of HIV-1-infected Chinese patients who have been on their first antiretroviral regimen for ≥5 years were analysed. The CD4 trajectories were traced, smoothed and differentiated into three defined profiles. Half (56.3%) were 'satisfactory responders', with CD4 gain of >100 cells/μL and a peak of >350 cells/μL, plateauing before the end of Year 5. Thirty-three (24.4%) were 'continuing responders' whose CD4 rise persisted at Year 4-5. The remaining 26 (19.3%) were 'poor responders'. Presentation with AIDS before therapy was common not just among 'poor' but also paradoxically the 'continuing' responders. While a majority had responded well to antiretroviral therapy, older patients and those with AIDS diagnosis before initiation of therapy may never achieve a satisfactory level even with effective treatment. Categorization of HIV patients by their CD4 trajectory may support the prediction of immunological outcome over time, and ultimately inform treatment choices.
A 43-year-old Malaysian man with well-controlled HIV infection on combination antiretroviral therapy presented with a six-week history of a widespread rash. The patient was otherwise well but was developing new lesions on a daily basis. Referral to Dermatology instigated punch biopsies, which revealed a diagnosis of lymphomatoid papulosis type A. This case highlights the importance of swift referral, especially in cases of spontaneous regression of symptoms, in order to obtain the correct diagnosis. In most patients, this condition tends to be chronic, with its chronicity and benign clinical course setting it apart from cutaneous anaplastic T-cell lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease, which are major entities in the histological differential diagnosis.