Misconceptions About HIV Still Common Among Singaporeans

Posted On: December 7, 2009

HIV infections are most commonly spread through heterosexual relationships, and not the commonly thought homosexual relationships or drug abuse.

Recent data from the Ministry of Health (MOH) showed that of the 218 newly-detected HIV cases in the first six months of this year, more than half of them (59 per cent) acquired the disease through heterosexual relationships.

Homosexual and bisexual transmission account for 33 and six per cent of the total new HIV cases respectively, while intravenous drug use accounted for only 2 per cent of the cases. At the end of June this year, there were 4,159 HIV-infected Singaporeans, according to MOH.

Many people also think symptoms such as weight loss and diarrhoea means you are HIV-positive. The truth is that being HIV-positive can be asymptomatic, especially during the first few years.

Even without treatment, HIV typically takes an average of 10 years to progress to Aids, the point whereby the person’s immune system becomes too weak to fight off infection.

In Singapore, most of the patients were in the late stages of HIV when they were diagnosed. According to MOH, more than half of the new cases detected in the first half of the year were in the later stages.

For more information, visit www.letstalkaboutsex.sg/whatsmyrisk/.

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