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Declining Trend In Number Of New HIV Cases

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KUALA LUMPUR – Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told the Dewan Negara today that the number of new HIV cases was showing a declining trend since 2002.

He said 799 new HIV were reported during the first three months of this year and based on the number, he expected 3,196 new cases to be reported throughout this year, compared with 3,517 cases reported last year.

“The number of new HIV cases has generally shown a declining trend, not increasing.

“The highest HIV cases reported was 6,978 people or 28.4 for every 100,000 population in 2002,” he said in response to a question from Senator Datuk Noriah Mahat.

Noriah wanted to know the factors for the increase in the number of HIV patients in the country.

In another development, Subramaniam said the ministry was working with the Home Ministry to study and provide a new definition for ketum leaf before it could be listed as a dangerous drug.

He said the study was necessary so as not to victimise villagers who had been planting and using ketum for medicinal purpose.

“Leaves from ketum plants, which grow wild in villages, are traditional used to make drinks for women in confinement to regain their strength.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Mohd Shuhaimi Abdullah who wanted clarification for the contradiction on the ketum issue between the Health Ministry and the Home Ministry. – BERNAMA

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