655 ‘Race Against Stigma’ in Sibu

A participant pushes a stroller during the ‘Race Against Stigma’.

SIBU: A total of 655 participants joined the 5km ‘Race Against Stigma’ organised by the Sibu Hospital Infectious Diseases Unit yesterday.

Held in connection with World AIDS Day on Dec 1, participants were mainly made up of medical personnel.

The objectives of the run were to create awareness of HIV/AIDS, promote zero discrimination and no stigmatisation towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

Sibu Hospital director Dr Ngian Hie Ung, who flagged-off the race, said there are still many misconceptions and myths regarding HIV/AIDS.

She said many still think HIV/AIDS is not treatable and are afraid to go near HIV/AIDS patients.

“HIV/AIDS is not curable but it is treatable. In fact these days, we consider it to be a chronic disease much like our diabetes and hypertension,” she explained.

“Once you have it, you have it for life, but, it is very much treatable with good outcomes.”

Ngian said the four main routes of transmission are sexual intercourse, sharing of needles, through blood products such as transfusion, and from mother to foetus.

“It cannot be transmitted through shaking hands, hugging, kissing, sharing the same food, or even using the same toilet. We organise this event in the hope that the public will be more aware of HIV/AIDS. We do not discriminate nor judge them,” she said.

Ngian said working together would create a better and more fulfilling living environment for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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