Safe Sex Remains an Important Tool to End AIDS Campaign Launch
to Tackle HIV via Sexual Transmission
KUALA LUMPUR, 12 SEPTEMBER 2019 – Sexual transmission has surpassed injecting drug use as the number one cause of HIV infections in Malaysia, contributing to 91 per cent cases of new infections in 2017, compared to just 33 per cent in 2002.
This alarming figure has prompted The Malaysian AIDS Foundation, The Body Shop Malaysia and One Condom to launch the Safe Sex Ends AIDS Campaign, which aims to educate young people to recognize sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk in partners and improve their knowledge and practice of safe sex. We are hopeful that the Safe Sex Ends AIDS Campaign can help to fill the void in sexual education space for young people in Malaysia and will lead to a change in attitude towards HIV and STD prevention and adherence to safe-sex practices.
In addition to safe sex, scientific evidence now also show that effective treatment with antiretroviral therapy for those who are living with HIV ensures that the individual can essentially lead a normal healthy life with little likelihood of transmitting the virus to his sexual partner if the HIV viral load is undetectable, Undetectable = Transmissible.
Furthermore HIV infection can now also be prevented with a pill called tenofovir by taking it pre exposure, in the so called PrEP regime. Uniquely to this campaign, it is also our conscious decision to reach out to women by making condoms accessible in a non-threatening environment. The Body Shop stores are a safe space for women. The special edition Safe Sex Ends AIDS Condom is sold at just RM6 per pack at all The Body Shop stores (except in Sarawak, Johor Premium Outlet and Mitsui Outlet Park. The condom is manufactured by One Condom for Malaysian AIDS Foundation in support of this campaign.
The Safe Sex Ends AIDS Campaign and special edition Condoms were officially launched on 12 September 2019 at SOGO Kuala Lumpur by Datuk Lai Voon Hon, Trustee of Malaysian AIDS Foundation, Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, the Managing Director of The Body Shop Malaysia and Mr Goh Miah Kiat, the Chief Executive Director of Karex Berhad.
The Safe Sex Ends AIDS campaign is also leveraging on the voices of passionate celebrity advocates such as Deborah Henry, Vanidah Imran, Fahrin Ahmad and Aaron Aziz – collectively known as the Red Ribbon Celebrity Supporters – to reach out to their fans and Malaysian public with this important message through social media campaign and series of PSAs.
We have to start addressing the elephant in the room. New HIV cases are on the rise mainly through sexual transmission, something that we have not seen since HIV first because a public health concern in Malaysia. It is not impossible to end AIDS. The tools to ending AIDS are 1) Ensuring that everyone living with HIV is treated and retained on therapy and attain an undetectable viral load and 2) For those at risk to have pre exposure pills of PrEP available. Additional initiatives like sex education and promotion of condom usage for HIV prevention has the potential to curb the rise of new HIV cases through sexual transmission and contribute towards ending AIDS for good”
Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chairman of Malaysian AIDS Foundation
As a feminist brand, The Body Shop believes in empowering women. By supporting the Safe Sex Ends AIDS Campaign and by selling condoms in our stores, not only are we a touch point for information on Safe Sex and AIDS, we are empowering women to make the choice to protect themselves. We are delighted to be a part of this campaign with Malaysian AIDS Foundation and Karex with the aim of ending AIDS in 2030. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the condoms will be donated to the Malaysian AIDS Foundation to support its work on ending AIDS.
Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, Managing Director of The Body Shop Malaysia
“The usage of condoms and contraceptives has been viewed negatively amongst some Malaysians. This in turn has a negative effect in youths getting better access to condoms. Even in the Klang Valley where condoms are easily found in most convenient stores, it is a burden for youths especially women to come forward and purchase them without getting a shameful glare by the people around them. This safe sex campaign with launch of our new product aims to provide more access to condoms as a way that prevents both sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies while also educating our younger generation on safe sex.
Goh Miah Kiat, Chief Executive Officer of Karex Berhad