Malaysia reports sharp drop in new HIV infections. (Photo: AFP)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The number of new HIV infection cases in Malaysia declined 34 percent in the last six years, higher than the regional average of 13 percent.

About 95 percent of people living with HIV in the country had been tested and knew their health status, said United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Eamonn Murphy.

It is important for people to know their HIV status as even if they are not accessing treatment, they can prevent further transmission, he added.

According to Murphy, one of the barriers for people to get treatment is the fear that they might face discrimination at workplace or they might lose their jobs. The discrimination occurs because the community does not understand that HIV is treatable, those receiving treatment could live a normal lifespan.

Changing public awareness of HIV should be the first step towards addressing the challenge of getting more people into treatment, he added.-VNA