KOTA BARU, 26 Oct 2009: The Kelantan state assembly was today told that the sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the state was worrisome among teenagers and adults.
Women, Family and Health state committee chairperson, Wan Ubaidah Omar, said Kelantan now has 749 HIV cases, an increase from previously.
She said for cases of new infections among Kelantanese aged between 20 and 29 years old, there was a 25% increase, while for the 30 to 39 years age group, the increase was 42%.
“In 2003, HIV infection through injections was 70% but in 2008, it fell to 53%.
“The spread of HIV in Kelantan now, apart from injection, was from sexual activity. In 2008, it was 27% compared to 19% the year before,” she said in reply to Zulkifli Mamat (PAS-Pulai Chondong) in the state assembly sitting here today.
Wan Ubaidah said the state government took various measures to raise awareness about the dangers of HIV including mandatory screening for HIV for couples intending to marry.
Mandatory testing, however, has been criticised for its ineffectiveness to curb the spread of HIV.
Wan Ubaidah said the state government also took proactive steps to prevent the spread of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus following 346 positive cases with one death in Kelantan.
She said her committee had opened an epidemic operations room in April last year. It also held 226 awareness ceramah, 203 briefings, 266 awareness advertisements over radio and 163 exhibitions, and gave vaccines to 11,378 people apart from holding prayers to prevent the virus’s spread.
On another matter, the agriculture, rural industries and biotechnology committee chairperson Che Abdullah Mat Nawi said the state government was now exploring organic padi growing with an allocation of RM200,000 to reap larger profits from padi planting.
“Through organic padi planting, there is no need for chemicals including fertiliser, insecticide and the like. [This will] save costs,” he said in reply to Omar Mohamad (PAS-Perupok).
He said the average yield for padi output for Kelantan rose from 3.89 metric tonnes in 2007 to 4.26 metric tonnes in 2008. — Bernama