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MOH, HPB: Decrease in HIV infections but more than half already at late stage

Forty-nine percent of the 154 Singapore residents diagnosed with HIV from January to June 2019 are already at the late-stages of HIV infection

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) released recent figures on HIV cases in Singapore.

From January to October 2019, there have been 275 reported residents diagnosed with HIV. The infections decreased from the 313 total number of cases in 2018.

Forty-nine percent of the 154 Singapore residents diagnosed with HIV from January to June 2019 are already at the late-stages of HIV infection according to an initial report by Today. These numbers are still lower than last year’s at 53 percent.

Nintey-five percent of the diagnosed patients were male, with 41 percent aged 20 to 39 and 40 percent aged 40 to 59.

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Citing the cases, the MOH found that 53 percent of HIV cases was transmitted through homosexual intercourse, 38 percent through heterosexual intercourse, and seven percent from bisexual intercourse.

Read: Gay men at risk of contracting HIV amongst others : NUS study

The MOH advised the public to refrain from engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour such as having multiple casual sexual partners and engaging with sex workers.

Individuals engaged in high-risk sexual behaviours are strongly advised to use condoms “consistently and correctly during every sexual encounter” to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Polyclinics, private clinics, hospitals, offer HIV testing. Other private clinics offer anonymous tests and do not ask for personal details.

Tests may cost anywhere from S$25 to S$30.

More residents are voluntarily getting screened for HIV, as well. Nineteen percent of the reported cases were detected through voluntary screening from the 17 percent last year.

The majority or 55 percent of the diagnoses were still detected through medical care tests and 20 percent were detected through routine HIV screening programmes.

Doctors report that more youth are becoming open to voluntary HIV testing and treatment, but the older residents are more hesitant towards prevention and treatment./TISG

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