Monday, January 2, 2012

More S'poreans now aware of HIV/AIDS preventive measures

I'd say this is good in the sense that the business is a medium for sex education as well... but to me, the best prevention is abstinence - you don't expect to play with fire and don't get burned, or seared, or at least, be singed...

By Wendy Wong and Monica Kotwani
Posted: 27 November 2011

HIV testing
SINGAPORE: According to a survey by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), Singaporeans now have greater knowledge of HIV/AIDS preventive measures compared to just few years ago.

The preventive measures are known as the ABCs - Abstinence from casual sex, Being faithful to one uninfected sexual partner and using a Condom correctly.

Last year, about 67 per cent of respondents were aware of the ABCs, compared to just 37 per cent in 2007.

The HPB survey also found a greater acceptance for individuals with HIV/AIDS.

In 2007, only 22 per cent of those surveyed were willing to share a meal with a person with HIV/AIDS.

Last year, this doubled to almost 41 per cent responded in the affirmative.

Minister of State for Health and Chairperson of the National HIV Policy Committee Dr Amy Khor said over 400 people are diagnosed with HIV every year and late testing and detection of the HIV infection remain a worrying trend.

She said education and outreach programmes will help to demystify and de-stigmatise the condition, and encourage at-risk individuals to take proper protective measures and come forward for regular HIV tests.

She added that regular HIV testing will allow for early detection and management of any HIV infection, delay the onset of AIDS and help ensure an active and productive life.

Dr Khor said her committee will focus on three areas in the short to medium-term.

They are awareness of HIV preventive measures, enhancing support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and adopting guidelines to remove stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Dr Khor said, "We've had feedback, and also through patients who go for treatment to Communicable Disease Centre, and they've shared that there is some stigma and discrimination, and I think it probably arises because of a lack of understanding of HIV infection and how the disease can be spread.

"We need to have these guidelines, and the HR managers to ensure that they do not, unwittingly for instance, have Human Resource policies or employment policies that discriminate against people with HIV infection.

"I mean, we've also heard stories of people getting dismissed because they were found to be HIV positive. And really, if they are treated and cared for, they can continue to work and contribute to the company, and to the economy, constructively and productively."

Dr Khor said employers are coming on board to raise awareness at the workplace, through organisations such as the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and AIDS Business Alliance.

Dr Khor was speaking at a World AIDS Day commemoration event called "Hairdressers Against Aids".

Meanwhile, HPB said it would unveil revamped HIV/AIDS guidelines together with SNEF, in January next year.

This would include a "Frequently Asked Questions" template, which tells HR managers what to do when a staff is infected with HIV.

HPB is working with L'Oréal Singapore to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS through hairstylists from more than 100 local hair salons, which have pledged to initiate talk and discussions with customers on the issue.

HPB CEO Ang Hak Seng: "The salon was chosen because hairdressers usually have long-standing relationships with their customers. And when customers have their hair done in the salon, it usually takes a long time, and this gives the opportunity to hair-stylists to give HIV preventive measures and education to their customers."

HPB is targeting some 30,000 Singaporeans and residents.

Future collaborations include HPB working with pubs and DJs to spread the word and initiate conversation on HIV/AIDS awareness.

It said five pubs have so far come on board.

- CNA/ck/wk

Taken from; source article is below:
More S'poreans now aware of HIV/AIDS preventive measures

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