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Med J Malaysia. 1995 Dec;50(4):298-301.

HIV infection in Malaysia: a report of cases seen at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala, Lumpur.


The spread of HIV infection into Malaysia is estimated to have occurred in the early 1980's. The first case of AIDS was reported here in 1986. As of March 31, 1994, the numbers have increased to 8049 HIV positive individuals detected in the country. The risk behaviours among those tested positive were intravenous drug use in 77.2%, sexual transmission in 4.5%, while the remainder are still under investigation. Pediatric AIDS constitutes 0.2% of positives. The high prevalence among intravenous drug users (IVDU) is likely to be due to mandatory testing for HIV upon entry to rehabilitation centres. The trend of HIV infection in this country seems to be highest amongst the intravenous drug users. The increasing number of HIV infected prostitutes and heterosexuals in our population is worrying. Since 1986, a total of 104 HIV positive individuals have been treated at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Of these, 25 have died and of those still alive, 5 have symptomatic disease. The most common AIDS-defining illness is Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Education programmes have been developed targeting the various high risk groups and the general population.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of HIV/AIDS cases registered at the University Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There were 104 such cases, but, due to incomplete data or lost to follow up, the analysis included only 66 HIV/AIDS cases. The age of the 66 HIV/AIDS cases ranged from 0 to 60 years. 89.4% were 21-40 years old. The female to male ratio was 1:10. 53.8% of the HIV/AIDS cases had acquired HIV via intravenous drug use. The next most common HIV transmission modes were heterosexual and homosexual intercourse (20% and 13.8%, respectively). There were 73 episodes of AIDS-defining illness among the 66 patients. The most common illnesses were Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) (32.9%) and esophageal candidiasis (16.4%). Of the 28 patients who had at least 1 CD4+ measurement, 54% had a CD4+ count less than 500/mcl. 66% of them had at least 1 AIDS-defining illness. 17 HIV/AIDS patients had already died. The leading causes of death were fulminant pneumonia (23.5%) and PCP (17.6%). The probability of survival at 2.7 years after HIV diagnosis was 50%. The probability of survival free from AIDS-defining illness at 2 years was also 50%. Reasons for poor survival included delay in HIV diagnosis, presentation late in the course of HIV disease (the case in 50% of HIV/AIDS patients at the hospital), poor compliance to follow-up, and non-availability of zidovudine until recently.

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