Singapore Health Board Releases Results From HIV/AIDS Survey
Singapore's Health Promotion Board recently released the results of an HIV/AIDS survey conducted last year, AsiaOne reports. The survey was conducted among 1,768 people ages 18 to 69 and asked participants about their awareness of HIV prevention, primarily concerning abstinence, fidelity and condom use. According to the survey, 80.4% of participants were aware of at least two of the three ways to prevent HIV, and 36.6% were aware of all three (AsiaOne, 10/16). The level of awareness was lowest among people ages 18 to 29, according to Channel NewsAsia (Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia, 10/16).
The survey also found that one in two participants did not know that using condoms can prevent HIV transmission, the Straits Times reports (Chong, Straits Times, 10/16). "Condom use is still very much a taboo subject in Singapore, and most of the general population would relate the use of condoms as a form of contraception, as opposed to preventing HIV/AIDS or even sexually transmitted infections," Lionel Lee, executive director of Action for AIDS, said (Channel NewsAsia, 10/16). In addition, one in five respondents at high risk of the virus -- including men who have sex with men and people with multiple sex partners -- reported consistent condom use during sex (Straits Times, 10/16).
The survey also found that one in three respondents was not aware that an HIV-positive person still can appear healthy. According to Channel NewsAsia, this misconception can prevent people from getting regular HIV screenings or practicing safer sex if their partners look healthy.
Although 68% of survey participants said that HIV cannot be transmitted by sharing a meal with an HIV-positive person, 22.4% said that they would do so. In addition, 18.2% of respondents said that they would buy food from a person living with the virus. Fifty-four percent of participants said that they would provide care for a family member living with HIV (Channel NewsAsia, 10/16).
To address the situation, the health board plans to implement various HIV/AIDS education campaigns to combat stigma and curb the spread of the virus (Straits Times, 10/16). It also plans to emphasize early HIV testing and detecting in addition to the ABC approach (Chai Chin, Today, 10/17).