Sunday, November 28, 2010

World AIDS Day - Singapore

This Wednesday, it will be World AIDS Day.

So what does that mean for Singapore?
  • 0.3% of Singaporeans = 14,000 people are HIV positive - including the undiagnosed (UNAIDS)
  • 1 in every 350 hospital patients were unknowingly HIV positive (Ministry of Health Singapore)
For such a small country, that actually seems like a relatively high number. In the UK, 83,000 are HIV positive. But then the UK has a population of almost 62 million - not just under 5 million as in Singapore.

But still the voice of HIV/AIDS in Singapore is very quiet. And stigma rules - obstructing knowledge and information.

But Action for AIDS Singapore is working tirelessly to make the step change needed to educate and save lives. But that's just the tip of the iceberg as they're also busy providing anonymous testing and counselling, and support and welfare to those already living with HIV because did you know...
  • Drugs for HIV in Singapore cost $1000 a month. And there are no government subsidies at all. Plus critical illness insurance does not cover HIV. 
  • Your company is most likely to fire you when they find out you have HIV as part of your annual medical check up. And there's no legal leg you can stand on.
Suddenly, people will not talk to you, you have no job, no income, you have to pay for the drugs, and support your family. And very few people want to talk about the fact this happening.

So, last Saturday, 10 guys undertook the brave feat of cycling for 12 hours to raise much needed awareness and funds in support of AfA's work; and stamp out stigma. This is impressive by anyone's standards, but even more so given the sweaty climes of Singapore. Phew you can almost see the sweat dripping off them!

Some of these guys had already been cycling for 4hrs in a very hot tent by the time I took this - now that's dedication...

They were later joined by 60 individuals who took turns in 1 hour shifts in support of these cycling heroes and the cause.

So this World AIDS Day, as the world comes together to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic that has killed more than 25 million people worldwide, what will YOU be doing help stamp out stigma and overcome misunderstandings and misconceptions of HIV?

If you want to join the global movement and do your bit this World AIDS Day, you can do it by making whatever donation you can to Action for AIDS Singapore here.

1 comment:

Ms Demeanour said...

I'm delighted to say a day after posting this it was announced that a first-line combination of anti-HIV drugs that previously cost $1,000 now costs $300.
Well done to all those who campaigned for this!