Malaysian health ministry disagrees with withholding PrEP medication to high-risk groups

Photo: Max Pixel / CC-BY-2.0.
Photo: Max Pixel / CC-BY-2.0.

In order to curb the spread of HIV, the Health Ministry thinks it is advantageous to prescribe PrEP, a drug that is known to lower the risk of contracting the virus to high-risk groups.

In his remarks to the Dewan Rakyat during Minister’s Question Time, Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti-GPS) highlighted that the Selangor mufti issued a fatwa (religious edict) that advises doctors to avoid prescribing PrEP to queer patients.

“Regarding the issue surrounding PrEP, although the Selangor mufti has issued a ruling on the matter, we have had discussions at the ministry.

“I don’t believe we can deny PrEP to high-risk individuals,” he said.

“I think it is better we prevent these high-risk groups from spreading the virus,” he added, referring to HIV which causes AIDS.

Lukanisman was answering a query by Wan Razali Wan Nor (Kuantan-PN) on Putrajaya’s stance following Selangor mufti’s ruling.

Wan Razali noted that HIV statistics have changed since the early 2000s, when sharing needles caused more infections. However, the virus’s recent spread has been linked to same-sex intercourse, he claims.

In his response, Lukanisman concurred with the Kuantan MP, stating that changes in lifestyle have indeed led to a change in the rate of HIV infections.

The Sibuti MP also suggested that teenagers who adopt a queer lifestyle do so because they are groomed.

“We have to accept that lifestyle changes, where a ‘male-to-male lifestyle’ is the main cause of HIV infections.

“If it shows that infection starts at 20 years of age, it means the infection occurred during the patient’s teenage years.

“I think grooming is among the causes why there are children and teens who are forced to choose this unhealthy lifestyle,” he added.

LGBT rights activists call the idea that young people choose to become queer due to systematic grooming a homophobic conspiracy theory without any basis in reality.



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