LOWER NUMBER OF NEW HIV CASES, BUT HOMOSEXUALS FORM BULK OF NEW INFECTIONS

There were 408 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among Singapore residents in 2016, a decrease compared to previous years where the number has remained consistent at 450 new cases per year since 2008.

Of the new cases, 93% were male, 72% were between 20 to 49 years old and 41% already had late-stage HIV when they were diagnosed. The majority of cases were detected via routine medical procedures when the patients had sought treatment for other ailments. Such cases tended to be at a later stage of infection when diagnosed. Those who were detected from voluntary screenings tended to be diagnosed with earlier stages of HIV.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) report, 95% of the new cases were transmitted through sexual intercourse. 52% of these cases were through homosexual intercourse, while 36% of cases were from heterosexual intercourse.

MOH advises the public to remain faithful to one’s spouse and 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.

Such individuals are also advised to go for regular screenings to rule out the possibility of HIV transmission.

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