PUTRAJAYA: The government is planning to introduce HIV and AIDS prevention, control and treatment programmes particularly for the youth.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was necessary as youths aged 20 to 39 years were the most affected by the virus and disease.
"We must empower the community, especially the youth, with proper knowledge about HIV/AIDS, its preventive measures and related issues," he said after chairing the National Social Council meeting earlier today.
His speech was read out by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
He said the council had outlined several programmes and improvements that could be implemented given the current HIV/AIDS situation in the country.
They included establishing shelters managed by government agencies or non-governmental organisations to provide aftercare for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), especially those who faced ostracism by their families and lacked support in enhancing their job security and educational opportunities.
"We also suggest implementing continuous monitoring and restrictions on websites disseminating pornography or social networking applications leading to high-risk HIV activities.
"This also includes self-HIV screening initiatives aimed at increasing access to at-risk groups and enhancing the Reproductive and Social Health Education (PEERS) curriculum and mandating it in community religious schools (SAR), besides implementing the Pekerti modules in higher education institutions," he said.
In November last year, then health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said an average of eight people contracted HIV in the country daily.
Zahid said the current situation of HIV/AIDS was included among the two discussion papers and one information paper deliberated during the meeting.
The other discussion paper was on school dropout issues among secondary school students and the information paper was on policy enhancements to ensure fair treatment for vulnerable consumers.
On the vulnerable consumers, he said, the paper had outlined two objectives for best practices for financial service providers in dealing with Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
This included establishing requirements for all financial service providers to provide appropriate support for vulnerable consumers and encouraging a culture of tolerance for the PWDs.
The National Social Council was established as the implementing body of the National Social Policy, which is the umbrella policy covering the philosophy and various social development policies of the nation.