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Update on the HIV/AIDS Situation in Singapore 2020 (December 2020)

            A total of 220 newly diagnosed cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections were reported among Singapore residents[1] in the first 10 months (January – October) of 2020.

2.             The Ministry of Health (MOH) has analysed 125 cases of these cases that were reported in the first 6 months (January – June) of 2020. Of the cases:

i.        90% were male;
‘ii.       37% were 20-39 years and 42% were 40-59 years; and
iii.     54% had late-stage HIV infection[2] at diagnosis. This is higher than the proportion of 49% for the same period last year.

3.              Sexual intercourse remains the main mode of HIV transmission, accounting for 96% of the 125 cases. Homosexual transmission was the mode of transmission for 46% of all cases, while 40% were from heterosexual transmission and 10% were from bisexual transmission.

4.              About 58% of the newly reported cases were detected by HIV tests done in the course of medical care. Another 22% were detected during routine programmatic HIV screening[3] while 15% were detected through self-initiated HIV screening. The rest were detected through other types of screening[4]. A higher proportion of homosexuals/bisexuals (21%) had their HIV infection detected via self-initiated HIV screening compared to heterosexuals (8%).

5.             Annex A provides detailed data on the cases reported. Information on newly reported HIV cases also is regularly updated on the MOH website.

Public Advisory

6.             The most effective way to prevent HIV infection is to remain faithful to one’s spouse/ partner and to avoid casual sex, and sex with sex workers. Persons engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour, such as having multiple sexual partners or engaging in casual or commercial sex, are strongly advised to use condoms to reduce their risk of HIV infection and other sexually-transmitted infections. Condoms should be used consistently and correctly during every sexual encounter.

7.             MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) urge individuals at risk of HIV infection to go for regular HIV testing[5]. Regular HIV testing can help diagnose an infected person at an early stage of the infection. Early diagnosis allows for early treatment and care, and provides the opportunity for those infected to learn about protecting their partners from infection.  With early and effective treatment, persons living with HIV can delay the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) for many years and continue to lead an active and productive life.

8.             HPB has been working with partner organisations to conduct programmes and campaigns to encourage high-risk individuals to take proactive measures, such as going for early and regular HIV testing. Adopting a lifestyle-based approach, these programmes engage such individuals via social settings to increase the targeted reach.

9.             Overcoming HIV/AIDS requires both individual and community effort.  We can all do our part to create supportive environments to encourage individuals at risk to come forward to be tested early for HIV, and for those diagnosed to receive treatment. For more information on HIV prevention, please refer to

[1] Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents.

[2] CD4+ cell count of less than 200 per mm3 or AIDS-defining opportunistic infections or both.

[3] Includes screening programmes for individuals with sexually transmitted infections, hospital inpatients and those identified through contact tracing.

[4] Includes modes such as general health screening as well as medical checks for employment and insurance.

[5] HIV testing is available at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals. In addition, HIV testing can be done at ten anonymous HIV test sites located across Singapore, where personal details are not required when signing up for a HIV test. 

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