Singapore reports 221 confirmed HIV cases in first half of 2011

Singapore (ANTARA News) - Singapore had 221 confirmed HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) cases diagnosed in the first half of 2011, a senior official of the Health Ministry said.

Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said Saturday evening that the number is comparable to 214 confirmed cases in the first half 2010, local daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Sunday.

"The possible reasons for this could be lack of knowledge and inaccurate perception of their individual risk. There are also individuals who know they have high risks for HIV but are reluctant to go for HIV testing," she said.

This is because having an HIV test and finding out that one is positive opens the door to many issues --a key challenge of which is coping with the stigma and discrimination which often accompany the disease.

Khor called for efforts to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

"Society must play a bigger part in breaking down the barriers to HIV testing. People with HIV have lost their jobs and the much- needed social support as a result of their diagnosis. Such occurrences should not happen," she said.(*)