Brunei Darussalam recorded the highest number of HIV cases in 2018. 41 cases were recorded in that year, where 93 per cent or 38 cases involved men and 32 per cent or 13 cases involved patients aging from 25 to 29 years. Most infections are caused by unsafe practices. If not addressed immediately, the number of HIV cases will further increase which will affect the country's goal of combating AIDS by 2030.

This was among the matters stressed by the Minister of Health at a Health Forum for Civil Servants this morning in conjunction with World Aids Day 2019 at the Ministry of Health. According to Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Muhammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, health centres and hospitals in the country have health facilities to detect HIV infection and give anti-retroviral or ART drugs that can inhibit the growth of the virus. In this regard, Yang Berhormat said that the facilities should be fully used by those in need of confidentially and without risk of discrimination. Early tests will ensure an individual receives faster treatment that can combat HIV transmission and therefore, increasing an individual's chance or probability to live a normal life.

The minister said this can be achieved by equipping oneself with correct knowledge on HIV and related matters to understand it better, and provide support to those in need.

The forum titled ''Implications of HIV in the Workplace' was organised by the Health Promotion Centre and the Disease Control Division of the Ministry of Health, and the Brunei Darussalam Aids Council. The forum aimed to give understanding to the public on the rights of employees with HIV and related matters. A number of speakers from the health agency and Labour Department during the forum also elaborated on the issue, in line with the objective of the forum which is to update HIV situations in the country and subsequently, reducing the stigma or discrimination against those with HIV.

Source: Radio Television Brunei