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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 28 November 2006

Health Ministry forms national committee to combat HIV/AIDS


MOH Forms a New National Policy Committee to Combat HIV/AIDS

MOH has formed a new National HIV/AIDS Policy Committee, which will take effect on 1 December 2006.
Chaired by Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts), the Committee will comprise representatives from seven ministries (MOH, MINDEF, MHA, MCYS, MOM, MOE and MICA), the Communicable Disease Centre, the National Skin Centre, the Health Promotion Board, the AIDS Business Alliance and Action for AIDS.
The Committee will provide guidance on all policy matters related to HIV/AIDS, including public health, legal, ethical, social and economic issues.
The Ministry of Health would like to acknowledge and express its sincere appreciation to the members of the AIDS Task Force who have helped to advise the Ministry on Singapore's policies on HIV/AIDS over the years.
New cases of HIV infection reported between July through October 2006
Between July and October 2006, another 137 new HIV cases were reported. These cases are currently undergoing further investigation, and more information on them will be released at a later date.
The addition of the 137 new cases from July through October 2006 to the 149 cases detected in the first 6 months of 2006 gives a total of 286 new cases for January through October 2006.
Characteristics of new cases of HIV infection reported in first 6 months of 2006
Out of the 149 Singaporeans detected to be HIV infected in the first six month, about 94% of the new cases detected this year were males and 6% were females.
Sexual transmission remains the main mode of HIV transmission among Singaporeans. Of the 149 cases reported in the first 6 months of 2006, 133 cases acquired the infection through the sexual route, with heterosexual transmission accounting for 59% of infections, homosexual transmission 26% and bisexual transmission 4%. Intravenous drug use (7 cases) accounted for 5% of HIV cases.
About half of all new cases reported in the first 6 months of 2006 were aged between 30 to 49 years of age. Persons aged between 20 to 29 years and those aged between 50 to 59 years each accounted for nearly one fifth of the cases.
Approximately 60% were single, while 30% were married, 7% were divorced and 3% were widowed. Of the 42 married men reported in the first 6 months of this year, 3 of their spouses tested positive for HIV. Another 17 spouses tested negative.
The HIV status of the remaining 22 spouses is pending further follow-up. Of the five married women reported in the first 6 months of this year, 3 were spouses of infected married men. The husbands of the other two women tested negative for HIV.
Characteristics of all HIV infected Singaporeans (as at end June 2006)
This brings the total number of HIV infected Singaporeans to 2,852 as of end-June 2006 (Table 1). Of these, 1,176 are asymptomatic carriers, 660 have AIDS-related illnesses and 1,016 have died.
Heterosexual transmission has been the most common mode of HIV transmission among Singaporeans since 1991 (Table 2). Most of these cases contracted the infection through casual sex and sex with prostitutes in Singapore and overseas.
The majority of HIV infected Singaporeans are male with 2,533 cases; 319 are female (Table 3), giving a sex ratio of eight males to one female. Among the males, 60% were single at the point of diagnosis. For the females, however, the majority (61%) were married.
About 83% of HIV cases are Chinese, 9% are Malays and 5% are Indian (Table 4). The majority of cases (59%) were diagnosed when they were between 30 and 49 years of age (Table 5). Nearly a fifth (18%) of cases were diagnosed when they were between 20 and 29 years of age.

Source: Press Release 27 Nov 2006

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