Fewer in Singapore going for discreet HIV test

20:37, November 29, 2010      

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The message that those at risk of contracting HIV should have themselves tested does not appear to be getting through in Singapore, local media reported on Monday.

Although 7,762 people visited clinics to be anonymously in the first 10 months of this year, the figure is a 7 percent drop when compared to the same period last year, local daily The Straits Times reported.

While the overall number of people tested during that period was higher this year, up by almost 11 percent to 143,906, six in 10 of cases in the first six months of the year were discovered at hospitals only during other forms of medical care, the Health Ministry's figures showed.

More alarmingly, six in ten of the new cases investigated by the Health Ministry were diagnosed only after the sufferer had reached the late stages of infection.

Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health Lam Pin Min said that while public education is needed to highlight the importance of early diagnosis, a tougher approach to those who know they are at risk of contracting HIV but do not tell their partners should be made.

There were 373 new HIV cases in the first 10 months of the year, with the Health Ministry expecting the figure to be close to last year's total of 463. That was the highest in a year since the disease surfaced in Singapore in 1985.

The number of new cases has been on the rise since 2003 -- with the official figure of those with HIV in Singapore now at 4,777.

Source: Xinhua


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