KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — A drop in new reported HIV cases of nearly 30 per cent in the past year has been observed in Singapore. Only 313 new HIV cases were reported. These are the lowest numbers recorded by the Singaporean Ministry of Health in 15 years.
New cases among men had fallen by 38 percent. Of the new reported cases, an estimated 52 percent were men who had sex with men.
Action for Aids Singapore stated that education on safer sex, access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and tackling stigma and discrimination were bringing infections down.
However, many cases are being detected years after people became infected. There have been calls for people to test regularly.
The new findings come as there is increasing pressure domestically on Singapore to decriminalise homosexuality.
In June, a Singaporean man lost his appeal against a two year jail sentence for not telling his sexual partner that he was HIV positive.
Section 23 of Singapore’s Infectious Diseases Act states that “a person who knows that he has HIV infection shall not engage in any sexual activity with another person unless, before the sexual activity takes place, he has informed that other person of the risk of contracting HIV infection from him; and that other person has voluntarily agreed to accept that risk”.
Calls have been made to repeal or update such laws which are considered obsolete as people currently undertaking HIV treatment could have an undetectable viral load making it hard for the virus to be transmitted.