Report: Malaysian women urged to carry condoms to prevent HIV

Malaysia's deputy health minister urged every woman in the country to carry a condom to protect against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, a news report said Sunday. "This is not to debase them but to protect them. Women are the first ones to get exploited by their (HIV-positive) partners," Abdul Latiff Ahmad was quoted as saying by the Sunday Star newspaper. "But this is just a suggestion, it's up to them." Abdul Latiff made the remarks to coincide with the International Aids Memorial Day, which was celebrated openly Saturday for the first time in the Muslim-majority country in a bid to reduce stigma for victims. In the past, the event was held behind closed doors. Last year, 745 Malaysian women were identified as HIV-positive and 193 women were diagnosed with AIDS, he said in the report.