MOH AND HPB URGE AT-RISK GROUPS TO GO FOR EARLY AND REGULAR TESTING

1.             In the first 6 months of 2014, 155 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections were reported among Singapore residents[1]. 

2.            Of these new cases reported:

(i)            91% are male.

(ii)          More than half (55%) were aged 30 to 49 years.       

(iii)         Nearly half (49%) already had late-stage HIV infection[2] when they were diagnosed. This is slightly higher    than the proportion of 41% last year.

3.            Sexual transmission remains the main mode of HIV transmission.  Almost all (96%) of the new cases acquired the infection through the sexual route. Heterosexual transmission accounted for 49% of these cases while 41% were from homosexual transmission and 6% were from bisexual transmission. 

4.            About half (52%) of the newly reported cases had their HIV detected when HIV testing was performed in the course of medical care provision. Another 31% were detected during routine programmatic HIV screening[3] while 12% were detected as a result of voluntary HIV screening. The rest were detected through other types of screening. When differentiated by sexual transmission, a higher proportion of homosexuals (19%) had their HIV infection detected via voluntary screening compared to heterosexuals (5%).

5.            Annex A provides detailed data for the cases reported.  Information on newly reported HIV cases is regularly updated on the Ministry of Health (MOH) website.

Public advisory

6.            The most effective way to prevent HIV infection is to remain faithful to one’s spouse/partner, and to avoid casual sex or sex with sex workers. Persons engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour, such as having multiple sexual partners or engaging in casual or commercial sex, are strongly advised to use condoms to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Condoms should be used consistently and correctly during every sexual encounter.

7.            Early and regular HIV testing can help an infected person to be diagnosed at an earlier stage of infection. With early diagnosis, a HIV positive person can access care and treatment earlier, and also receive counselling on how to protect their partners from infection. Early treatment and care also delays the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and allows the infected individual to live an active and productive life.

8.            MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) urge individuals at risk of HIV infection to go for early and regular HIV testing. Confidential name-based HIV testing is widely available at general practitioner (GP) clinics, polyclinics and hospitals in Singapore.

9.            For individuals who would like to be tested but prefer not to be identified to healthcare personnel, anonymous HIV testing provides an alternative to conventional HIV testing. There are currently 10 anonymous HIV test sites in Singapore. The full list of test sites is available on the HPB website [at http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/6368] for members of the public to refer to.

Background

10.         HPB works with partner organisations to conduct programmes and campaigns targeted at high-risk individuals to urge them to take protective measures and to go for early and regular HIV testing. A lifestyle-based approach is taken, where HPB and their partners reach out to high-risk individuals via social settings which are familiar to them.

11.         More information about HIV and AIDS can be found at the HPB website at http://www.hpb.gov.sg.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

29 NOVEMBER 2014


 

[1] Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents.

[2] CD4+ cell count of less than 200 per cu mm or AIDS-defining opportunistic infections or both.

[3] Includes screening programmes for individuals with sexually transmitted infections, hospital inpatients and those identified through contact tracing

 

 

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