New HIV cases hit record high in Singapore

New cases of the virus that causes AIDS hit an historic high in Singapore in 2003, led by middle-aged heterosexual men.
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Published on May 17, 2004 04:01 PM IST
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PTI | ByReuters, Singapore

New cases of the virus that causes AIDS hit an historic high in Singapore in 2003, led by middle-aged heterosexual men, the government said on Monday.

New HIV infections in the wealthy city-state totalled 242 in 2003, the highest since records began in 1985, the Health Ministry said. A total of 2,075 people are infected by the virus.

Heterosexuals accounted for 76 percent of all new cases, with most infections contracted through casual sex or sex with prostitutes, the ministry added.

"This is a worrying trend," said Benedict Jacob-Thambiah, executive director at Action for Aids, a non-governmental group.

"The average Singaporean on the street is aware of AIDS. Let's not doubt it. They know how it can spread. But most remain complacent," he said.

Since the start of Singapore's epidemic with two cases in 1985, around 776 people have died in Singapore from AIDS, which has killed more than 20 million worldwide in the last 25 years.

The United Nations has forecast that by 2010, 45 million more will be infected if the pandemic continues at its current pace and 70 million will have died by 2020.

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