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05 Nov 2019

4th Nov 2019

Dr Chia Shi-Lu
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question No. 3245
To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether he can provide an update on the progress of the Ministry's education and outreach measures on HIV infections; (b) whether the Ministry has been able to detect more cases at an earlier stage and through voluntary testing; and (c) whether the Ministry has been able to help more cases delay the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and what is the average duration of such delays.

Written Answer
Prevention and Control Approach Towards HIV

  1. Singapore’s approach towards the prevention and control of HIV, is based on the four key principles of “ABCD”.  That is, “A” - abstinence from casual sex, “B” - being faithful, “C” correct and consistent use of condoms, and “D” - early detection and treatment.
  2. The benefits of “D” or early detection and treatment of HIV infection are clear. It can suppress the HIV viral load and prevent the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), thus enabling HIV-infected persons an improved quality and length of life that is relatively symptom-free. Based on our estimates, 77% of HIV-positive persons in Singapore know their status. Among those who know their status, 86% are on treatment.  98% of those on treatment are virally suppressed.
  3. We have been working on efforts to encourage more at-risk persons to test for HIV regularly. Testing has been made widely accessible in primary care and hospital clinics. For persons who prefer anonymity, there are designated anonymous test sites at GP clinics as well as an Action for Aids mobile testing van operating at different sites. HPB also works with partner agencies on outreach programmes to encourage at-risk individuals to take preventive measures on HIV and to go for early and regular HIV testing.  These include tapping on platforms such as World AIDS Day activities. 
  4. We have made some progress through these efforts. The proportion of persons diagnosed with late-stage HIV infection decreased from 51% in the 5-year period between 2009 to 2013 to 44% between 2014 to 2018. The proportion of new HIV-positive cases detected through voluntary testing increased from 14% from 2009 to 2013 to 19% between 2014 and 2018.
  5. We will continue to look into new and enhanced approaches and initiatives to encourage early and regular HIV testing among at-risk groups. 

Category: Parliamentary QA