AIDS patient: Get tested, it could save your life
Max's life could have been so different if he were diagnosed with HIV early
He weighs a healthy 72kg today, with a muscular physique.
No one will be able to tell that Max (not his real name) has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids).
The manager, who is in his 30s, is grateful to be alive and he wants to send out a loud message that regular testing is vital for those who are at risk of being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
If left untreated, HIV infection leads to Aids.
Max, who is homosexual, admitted that he had unprotected sex several times in the past.
Speaking to The New Paper on World Aids Day yesterday, he said: "My condition wouldn't have progressed to Aids if I had got myself tested, diagnosed and treated earlier.
"I'm healthy now, but I could have died."
General manager of Action for Aids, Ms Sumita Banerjee, stressed the need for a high-risk person to get diagnosed early.
She said: "It improves treatment outcomes significantly, enabling the person to lead a productive life and manage HIV as a chronic condition, as opposed to getting diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment becomes far more challenging."
Max weighed just 60kg 10 years ago and coughed so badly that it kept him awake at night and caused him to vomit repeatedly.
He then spotted a purple lump on his body and had it surgically removed and, soon after, the doctor called him in.
"He told me I had Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) - a kind of cancer that some people with Aids could get," Max said.
"I got tested for HIV. The result came out positive and I was devastated."
If left untreated, a person with Aids usually dies within three years from various infections and cancers.
Max told his close friends and they rallied together to give him moral support.
He was put on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (Haart) to treat HIV and now takes three different pills every day.
Today, he has no more KS lesions and has gained weight.
Max added: "With Haart, being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence. Please get tested and diagnosed early before you progress to Aids."
Women at risk from infected partners
The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) said that as of last year, 57.6 per cent of women diagnosed with HIV or Aids in Singapore were married.
Aware commissioned a study carried out by researchers from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health involving in-depth interviews with 55 women and it highlighted the vulnerabilities of non-sex worker women living with HIV or HIV-positive partners.
In a media release on Tuesday, Aware revealed that nearly half of the HIV-positive married women believed they were infected by their husbands.
"A few knew of their husbands' infidelities but many remained married due to economic dependence, a sense that men's extramarital affairs were a societal 'norm', or feelings of powerlessness," Aware said.
Puffing for Aids awareness
People inflating condoms as they participate in a promotional event for Aids prevention in Chongqing Municipality in China ahead of the World Aids Day.