New HIV infections in first 10 months up by 10% in SIngapore

There was a 10% increase in the number of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among Singapore residents in the first 10 months of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022.

In an update on Dec 1 on the HIV/Aids situation in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that there were 188 newly diagnosed HIV cases among Singapore citizens and permanent residents from January to October 2023.

However, the overall infection rate – measured in the number of infections per 100,000 residents – in 2022 was five, the lowest since 1996, when the rate was 4.5.

In analysing the 104 cases reported from January to June 2023, MOH said that 97% were male. Twenty-eight people among cases analysed were aged between 30 and 39, forming the age group with the most number of cases. Nearly half of the analysed cases – 48% – had late-stage HIV infection at diagnosis. This was 11% lower than in the same period in 2022, noted MOH.

Sexual intercourse remains the main mode of HIV transmission and accounted for 96% of the 104 cases, said MOH.

Heterosexuals accounted for 28% of these cases, while 68% of the cases were men who have sex with men, including those who reported sexual activity with men and women (4%).

However, the total number of HIV/Aids transmissions through heterosexual sex from 1985 to June 2023 (4,986) is still higher than the combined number of those transmitted through sex between men, and bisexuals (3,993).

Some 58% of the newly reported cases were detected when they were receiving medical care, while 18% were from voluntary screening, and another 13% were detected via routine screening.

A greater proportion of those whose infections were detected while receiving medical care had late-stage HIV infection than other modes of detection, MOH said.

MOH said: “The most effective way to prevent HIV infection is to remain faithful to one’s spouse or partner and to avoid casual sex, or sex with sex workers. — The Straits Times/ANN

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