IN CONJUNCTION with World AIDS Day on December 1, the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof, said awareness must be raised among the public pertaining to the dangers and risks of HIV and AIDS.
From 2011 to the end of 2014, World AIDS Day has been carrying the theme ‘Getting to Zero: Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths’, which stresses the importance of community commitment toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals’ objectives.
The World Health Organization estimates that 35 million people throughout the world have HIV, where in 2013 alone, 2.1 million were diagnosed with HIV with Brunei Darussalam recording 12 new cases this year.
Five locals have been declared HIV positive by the ministry through their sexual relationships. What is worrying is that this total indicates there are individuals who take part in high-risk sexual activities in the country and this has the potential to spread HIV.
High-risk behaviours that have negative effects should be avoided and prevented in the country.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health requires strong cooperation as well as full-fledged commitment from all stakeholders including those from the private sector, Non-Government Organisations as well as educational institutions and all levels of the community, especially parents and guardians to work together with the ministry in making more effective preventative and control measures of this disease including from the aspects of education and awareness campaigns.
This is purely to save the people and residents of Brunei, especially the younger generation, from any infections and risks of this dangerous and debilitating illness while at the same time preserving the country’s welfare against this life-threatening disease.