Malaysian Prime Minister’s Wife Discusses ‘Cultural Taboos’ Surrounding Sex and HIV
Dr. Siti Hasmah, wife of Malaysia's Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, said Sunday that although Malaysia has "made inroads in discussing" HIV/AIDS in public, developing countries still have a "long way to go" in overcoming cultural taboos related to sex and the disease. Besides the silence surrounding sex, other "stumbling blocks" include the practice of polygyny in some cultures. Hasmah praised the introduction of sex education in schools, a practice she and others "have been advocating ... for a long time," she said. During a special session of the Social Issues Group of the Global 2000-LID on "Social Corporate Responsibility and Smart Partnership," which she hosted and moderated, Hasmah urged corporate and political figures to be "committed to efforts to raise awareness on AIDS." She added that corporations "should go beyond merely making financial contributions in fighting the menace, but also consider the welfare of their employees and families by devising appropriate programs on how to deal with the situation in a humane and caring manner" (New Straits Times, 11/20).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.