News

'People still think having HIV/Aids is shameful'

Fewer than 20 of the 200 HIV-positive cases which Action For Aids has seen have told their family and friends about their condition, reveals its general manager, Mr Kevin Poh.

None of them have informed their employers about it because they fear being discriminated against, he adds.

Says Mr Poh: "Because it is a sexually transmitted infection, HIV/Aids is not talked about much and people still think it (having the condition) is shameful.

"People living with HIV should be able to tell their employers without fear of prejudice."

His organisation held its ninth Singapore Aids Conference at Tan Tock Seng Hospital yesterday.

RISE IN INFECTIONS

One of the issues discussed at the conference was the rise in infections among homosexual men.

The Ministry of Health yesterday revealed that there were 155 new cases of HIV infections reported among Singapore residents in the first six months of this year.

Of these, almost half - 73 cases - came from homosexual and bisexual transmission.

The trend has been highlighted previously when the 248 cases of gay and bisexual transmissionsignificantly outnumbered the 181 heterosexual transmission cases last year.

Says Mr Poh: "It is a worrying trend and we need to understand why it is rising. Perhaps it is because of the availability of anti-viral medicines that people start to become more complacent."

The conference attracts about 300 to 500 attendees each year, and they comprise HIV/Aids academics, health-care professionals and advocates.