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5,324 living with HIV/AIDS in Singapore; 450 new cases reported per year since 2008

455 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections were reported among Singapore residents1 in 2015. This brings the total number of HIV-infected Singapore residents to 7,140 as of end 2015, of whom 1,816 had passed away. (5,324 still living) The number of new reported HIV cases has remained consistent at about 450 per year since 2008.
 
The 5,324 with HIV/AIDS makes up 0.096% of the total population of 5.535 million living and working in Singapore.
 
Of the 455 cases reported in 2015, 93% were male, and 74% were between 20 to 49 years old. About 40% already had late-stage HIV infection2 when they were diagnosed. This is lower than the 49% recorded in 2014.

Sexual intercourse remains the main mode of HIV transmission. 97% (440 out of 455) of the cases acquired the infection through sexual intercourse, of which 38% were from heterosexual transmission, 51% from homosexual transmission and 8% from bisexual transmission. For the remaining cases, four had acquired HIV through intravenous drug use. The cause of infection for the remaining 11 cases could not be determined.
 
worldaidsday1a

46% of the newly reported cases were detected by HIV tests done in the course of medical care provision3. Cases detected via this route typically are at the late stage of their HIV infection. Another 29% were detected during routine programmatic HIV screening4 while 18% were detected as a result of voluntary HIV screening. Cases detected via voluntary screening are more likely to be at the early stage of their infection. When differentiated by sexual transmission, a higher proportion of homosexuals/ bisexuals (28%) had their HIV infection detected via voluntary screening compared to heterosexuals (3%).
 
PUBLIC ADVISORY

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.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) urge individuals who engage in high-risk sexual behaviour to go for early and regular HIV testing. With early diagnosis, an infected person can be treated earlier, and receive counselling on how to protect their partners from infection.  Early treatment and care delay the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and allows the infected individual to live an active and productive life. Early treatment also reduces HIV spread in the community.

HPB has been working with partner organisations to conduct programmes and campaigns targeted at high-risk individuals to urge them to go for regular HIV testing. HPB’s partners conduct various educational outreach programmes on HIV prevention and management using a lifestyle approach. These programmes reach out to at-risk individuals through social settings to encourage them to take protective measures and to go for early and regular HIV testing.

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


[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 cases that presented with HIV-specific symptoms and cases with non-HIV related medical conditions 

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

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