The Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, has taken millions of lives all over the world since its discovery in the 1980s. This syndrome, caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), weakens the body’s immune system to a point where it can no longer fight against infections, thus leading to death. HIV is one of the few Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) that is lethal and does not have a cure. While scientists and doctors all over the world are in a rush to find a cure for HIV, non-profit organisations all over the world are helping the cause by spreading awareness, correcting the public’s misconceptions, and subsidising medication for people with the virus. In this article, we’ll explore a few ways local organisations in Singapore help in the effort to fight AIDS.
Education in schools
The Ministry of Education has incorporated STDs into the lower Secondary Science syllabus. In schools, students learn about the ways that HIV can be transmitted and the common misconceptions that they may have heard from their parents. This content may be tested during the ‘O’ Level examinations upon completion of their 4-year study in Secondary School. By studying and understanding HIV and AIDS in detail in school, students are aware of the dangers of STDs at a time where they may be exploring their sexuality. It is definitely an impactful and important effort in the fight to eventually eradicate AIDS.
Action for AIDS
Action for AIDS, or AFA, is a non-profit organisation that aims to reduce and eradicate AIDS. In Singapore, AFA organises events targeted at different groups, such as men who have sex with men and sex workers. These community outreach efforts include free or heavily subsidised HIV test in Singapore, distribution of condoms to high-risk groups, and providing counselling and other forms of emotional support to those who have been diagnosed with HIV. The community engagement efforts by this organisation and similar organisations in Singapore is a great step in the right direction in the overall battle against AIDS.
HIV clinics in Singapore
STD clinics in Singapore are well equipped to help patients who have HIV. Besides informational pamphlets for any curious patient to find out more about the virus, the doctors in these HIV clinics in Singapore are also well-versed in HIV’s effects on the body, and will be able to provide primary emotional support should the patient be told that they are HIV positive. Confidentiality has also been put in place in these clinics. A patient who has been tested positive for HIV will not need to worry about having a permanent black mark on their medical record in the future. Finally, these clinics are also well-equipped with medicines that HIV-positive patients should take in order to suppress the virus and lead a longer life. STD clinics in Singapore are well-equipped with both equipment and knowledge to help any patient who may suspect that they have HIV.
HIV and AIDS still has a negative stigma attached to it today. Community efforts by volunteers, teachers medical professionals alike are essential in creating an understanding and empathetic environment for HIV patients and those in high-risk groups.