A total of 220 newly diagnosed cases of HIV infections were reported among Singapore residents in the first 10 months (January – October) of 2020, reported Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) this week.
The number shows a decline in the number of reported new cases this year; in 2019, this number was 323, a tick above the 313 cases reported the year before in 2018. The dip in numbers this year could be due to safe distancing measures introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, doctors said.
The last time the number of reported cases dipped below 300 was in 2003, when there were 242 cases.
In the first six months of this year, there were 125 reported cases, of which nine out of 10 were men. Of all cases, sexual intercourse remained the main mode of transmission, accounting for 96% of the 125 cases, said MOH.
The ministry’s report also noted that about 58% of the newly reported cases were detected by HIV tests done in the course of medical care. Comparatively, only 15% were detected through self-initiated HIV screening.
In Singapore, HIV testing can be done at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals. Also offering testing are 10 anonymous HIV test sites located across the city-state, where personal details are not required when signing up, including at Action for Aids Singapore.
“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.”