PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) and the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) have denounced a speech made by a religious teacher, at the Health Ministry’s (MoH) 2022 National World AIDS Day Celebration Programme in Seremban today.
In a joint statement, both organisations said that the teacher — a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer on Islamic subjects — had made disparaging and hurtful remarks towards people living with HIV, the LGBTQ+ community, and other “key populations” at the event.
“Stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV are counterproductive and will advertently discourage people at risk from seeking health services.
“We recognise the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and just as importantly, the health and wellbeing of people living with or at risk of HIV,” read the statement.
MAC added it had raised its concerns with MoH before the event and had been assured that the speaker would not make discriminatory remarks.
“MAC urges media, governments, and communities to respond with a rights-based, evidence-based approach that avoids stigma and discrimination.”