361 new HIV cases in first 10 months of year

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A total of 361 new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections was reported among Singapore residents in the first 10 months of this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

Along with the Health Promotion Board (HPB), MOH urged at-risk groups to go for regular HIV testing.

The ministry analysed 194 cases that were reported in the first half of the year and found that 96 per cent were male. About 42 per cent of the cases had late-stage HIV infection when they were diagnosed, up from 38 per cent in the same period last year.

MOH said sexual intercourse accounted for 97 per cent of the 194 cases analysed.

It said the most effective way to prevent HIV infection "is to remain faithful to one's spouse or partner and to avoid casual sex and sex with sex workers".

It advised people who engage in high-risk sexual behaviour, such as having multiple sexual partners or engaging in casual or commercial sex, to use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

MOH and HPB urged those at risk to go for regular HIV testing, stressing it not only allows the infected person to have early treatment, but also lets them learn about protecting their partners from infection.