265 new cases of HIV reported between Jan and Oct: MOH

265 new cases of HIV reported between Jan and Oct: MOH

A nurse tests a blood sample during a free HIV test at a blood tests party, part of a campaign to p
File photo of a blood sample during an HIV test. (Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

SINGAPORE: A total of 265 new cases of HIV infection were reported among Singapore citizens and permanent residents in the first 10 months of this year, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (Dec 1). 

Of these, MOH analysed 156 cases between January and June, and found that 90 per cent of those infected were male. 

Nearly half (46 per cent) were between the ages of 40 and 59, while 40 per cent were aged between 20 and 39.

About 53 per cent had last-stage HIV infection when they were diagnosed, said MOH, which is an increase from the 42 per cent for the same period last year

In the media release, MOH said sexual intercourse accounted for all of the known exposures. 

The ministry noted that 45 per cent of all cases were from heterosexual transmission, 43 per cent were from homosexual transmission and 12 per cent were from bisexual transmission. 

AT RISK GROUPS URGED TO GO FOR REGULAR TESTING

Of the newly reported cases, about 57 per cent were detected by HIV tests conducted during medical care, said MOH. 

"Another 22 per cent were detected during routine programmatic HIV screening, while 17 per cent were detected through self-initiated HIV screening," added the ministry. 

The rest were detected through other types of screening such as medical check-ups for employment or insurance. 

READ: Concerned about HIV infection? Think twice before buying a self-test kit online

MOH said a higher proportion of homosexuals or bisexuals (25 per cent) had their infection detected via volunteer screening compared to heterosexuals (9 per cent). 

The ministry urged individuals at risk of HIV infection to go for regular HIV testing as it can help diagnose an infected person at an early stage. 

"Early diagnosis allows for early treatment and care, and provides the opportunity for those infected to learn about protecting their partners from infection," said MOH. 

"With early and effective treatment, persons living with HIV can delay the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) for many years and continue to lead an active and productive life." 

MOH said the most effective way to prevent HIV infection was to remain faithful to one's spouse or partner, as well as to avoid sex with sex workers. 

Those who engage in high-risk sexual behavior, 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 or other sexually transmitted infections, said the ministry. 

Source: CNA/ad(hs)

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