Sunday, June 10, 2007

Needle exchange programme to cover three more towns

NST: SERDANG: The Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme (NSEP) aimed at checking HIV/AIDS will be expanded to Alor Star, Kuantan and Kota Baru this year, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Some 3,600 people are expected to benefit from the programme.
"Until February, 1,707 people in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Penang had benefited from the programme compared with the initial target of 1,200 clients," Dr Chua said when opening the Prostar 2007 convention at Universiti Putra Malaysia here.
His speech was read out by deputy director-general of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat.
Prostar is an AIDS awareness programme for youths. The NSEP and methadone therapy are part of government efforts to fight HIV/AIDS as most of the infected patients are intravenous drug users (IDUs)
On methadone therapy, Dr Chua said 1,241 patients had registered for the one-year programme and the government had expanded it to 17 hospitals and 24 health clinics.
"From only 10 health centres it has been extended to more than 50 centres and 5,000 drug addicts nationwide. This is a five-fold increase."
Allocation for the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS had seen a big jump from RM40 million annually since 1993 and an additional RM500 million from 2006 to 2010, mostly for the "harm reduction" programme.
The government’s National Strategy Plan (NSP) against HIV/AIDS is for the period from 2006 to 2010.
On the Prostar programme, Dr Chua said the government had allocated RM3.8 million for 1,395 School Prostar Clubs, 104 Prostar Clubs and 11 Prostar service centres with membership of 11,036 nationwide

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