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MIRI, Sept 5: The state government wants locals to start talking openly about sexual education as a way to curb the rising incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the state, especially in the last two years.
Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus said the government was very concerned over this matter and wanted to “nip the problem in the bud”.
“The ministry is aware that there are people who are not happy or uncomfortable when we talk about issues related to sexual education and sexually transmitted issues openly. But the time has come for us to change our mindset and to be more open for the wellbeing of our community.
“We have to start somewhere and engage our community from all walks of life so that we can collaborate to nip the problem in the bud,” she said when closing the ‘Community Input Dialogue on Social Issues: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)’ at Miri Pustaka today.
Roughly 300 participants from government agencies and schools attended the one-day programme, which was organised by the ministry and Miri Resident’s Office.
Citing statistics from the State Health Department, Rosey said reported cases of gonorrhoea in the state increased from 645 in 2016 to 989 in 2017, while the number of syphilis diagnosed increased from 231 in 2016 to 429 last year.
For HIV cases, there were 275 reported cases in 2016 and it shot up to 390 cases in 2017. For AIDS, there were 137 cases in 2016 but the number for 2017 is 167.
This worrying trend is also recorded in Miri Division, she said.
In Miri Division, there were 62 cases of gonorrhoea in 2016, but it climbed to 132 last year. For syphilis, it shot up from 26 cases in 2016 to 54 cases in 2017.
In the case of HIV, there were 49 cases in 2016, but there were 78 cases in 2017. In 2016, there were 24 AIDS cases but 2017 ended with 38 cases.
To educate the public on the risks of STI, Rosey told those present that besides the Community Input Dialogue Programme on Social Issues, her ministry was also actively implementing the Sexual Education Advocacy Programme (KAPS) in secondary schools across the state all divisions in Sarawak. For this year, KAPS would also be held at SMK Bekenu, SMK Tinjar and SMK Merbau. — DayakDaily