KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 – Hisham Hussein was elected as the new president of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) yesterday, after serving as honorary secretary for more than two decades.
A new executive committee for the 2022/2024 term was also elected by MAC council members at MAC’s 16th biennial general meeting here yesterday.
The full line-up of the MAC executive committee for the term 2022/2024 is as follows:
President: Hisham Hussein
Vice President: Prof Madya Dr Raja Iskandar Shah Raja Azwa
Honorary Secretary: Ken Woo Kin Fai
Assistant Honorary Secretary: Dr Dinesh Mahalingam
Honorary Treasurer: Dr Tong Mun Wah
Ordinary exco members:
1) Hairudin Masnin
2) Dr Nur Afiqah Mohd Salleh
3) Dr Tan Wei Leong
4) Dr Yuwana Podin
5) Elisha Kor Krishnan
“Please join us in congratulating the new MAC Executive Committee members,” MAC mentioned in a statement yesterday.
“We look forward to the exco members’ leadership and dedication in championing the Ending AIDS strategic plans with solid governance, advocacy, community systems and resource mobilisation.”
In 2019, Hisham, the chairman of PT Foundation, a charity that assists people with HIV, previously called for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — a medication that prevents HIV transmission among those who engage in risky sexual behaviour –– to be made available free of charge or at least at a minimal cost, at government hospitals.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told Parliament last March that sexual transmission has become Malaysia’s main mode of HIV transmission since 2011.
In 2021, about 63 per cent of reported HIV cases in Malaysia were linked to homosexual or bisexual relationships, and 33 per cent to heterosexual relationships.
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Global AIDS Monitoring 2021 progress report, Malaysia failed to meet the global 2020 HIV goals of 90-90-90, where by 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
MOH reported that by the end of 2020, about 87 per cent of an estimated 92,063 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Malaysia were aware of their status, 58 per cent of reported PLHIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy, and 85 per cent of those on antiretroviral treatment became virally suppressed, or 87-58-85.
MOH attributed Malaysia’s failure to meet the 90-90-90 goals to the shift in the local HIV epidemiology landscape from needle-sharing to sexual transmission, and also to stigma and discrimination faced by PLHIV that impedes efforts to link newly diagnosed PLHIV with care.
MAC, which was formed in 1992 under the Ministry of Health, works together with several stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and other organisations to advocate on HIV/ AIDS issues in the country.