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Half of newly diagnosed HIV patients have late-stage infection: MOH, HPB

SINGAPORE — About half of 154 Singapore residents found to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the first half of this year have late-stage HIV infection, lower than the proportion for the same period last year.

The authorities also urge those with a high risk of HIV infection to go for regular HIV testing which can help diagnose an infected person at an early stage of the infection.

The authorities also urge those with a high risk of HIV infection to go for regular HIV testing which can help diagnose an infected person at an early stage of the infection.

SINGAPORE — About half of 154 Singapore residents found to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the first half of this year have late-stage HIV infection, lower than the proportion for the same period last year.

They were among 275 residents who are newly diagnosed with HIV in the first 10 months of the year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) said on Sunday (Dec 1) — which coincided with World Aids Day. By comparison, there were 313 cases for the whole of last year.

The MOH said it has analysed 154 of the cases which were reported between January and June this year.

Of these cases, the ministry found that 95 per cent of the patients diagnosed were male.

About 41 per cent were aged between 20 and 39, while 40 per cent were between 40 and 59.

Half — or about 49 per cent — were diagnosed with late-stage HIV infection.

“This is lower than the proportion of 53 per cent for the same period last year,” the MOH said.

BREAKDOWN OF EXPOSURE AND DIAGNOSIS

Sexual intercourse accounted for all of the known exposures to HIV.

Homosexual transmission was the mode of transmission for 53 per cent of all cases, while 38 per cent were from heterosexual transmission and 7 per cent were from bisexual transmission.

About 55 per cent of the newly reported cases were detected by HIV tests done in the course of medical care while another 20 per cent of cases were detected during routine programmatic HIV screening.

Self-initiated HIV screening such as voluntary screening, meanwhile, accounted for 19 per cent of the cases diagnosed.

The health ministry and HPB noted that a higher proportion of homosexuals and bisexuals (30 per cent) had the HIV infection detected via voluntary screening as compared to heterosexuals (4 per cent).

REMINDER TO THE PUBLIC

In an advisory to the public, the MOH and HPB said that the most effective way to prevent HIV infection is to remain faithful to one’s spouse or partner, and to avoid casual sex and 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 advised to use condoms to reduce their risk of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.

“Condoms should be used consistently and correctly during every sexual encounter,” the MOH and HPB said.

The authorities also urge those with a high risk of HIV infection to go for regular HIV testing which can help diagnose an infected person at an early stage of the infection.

HIV testing is available at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals. There are also anonymous HIV test sites where personal details are not required when signing up for a HIV test.

Those who want more information on HIV infection can visit www.healthhub.sg

Related topics

HIV Ministry of Health Health Promotion Board health

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