SMA Editorial Board
Letters to the Editor
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WORLD AIDS CAMPAIGN WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
The 1999 World AIDS Campaign - Listen, Learn, Live! - focuses
on communication with children and young people. It builds on the momentum
generated by two years of advocacy through the 1997 Campaign, which featured
Children Living in a World with AIDS, and the 1998 Campaign, which highlighted
young people as a Force for Change.
Learn, Live! has two main objectives. The first objective is to raise
awareness about the need to listen to children and young people in order
for AIDS prevention and care efforts to be effective. The second objective
is to strengthen AIDS programmes with children and young people in ten
It is imperative
Listen to children and young people, hear their views and concerns,
and understand what is important in their lives.
Learn from one another about respect, participation, support, and
ways to prevent HIV infection.
Live in a world where the rights of children and young people
are protected and where those living with HIV/AIDS are cared for and do
not suffer from discrimination.
Ten Action Areas to
Strengthen AIDS Programmes with Children and Young People
- National policies that protect children’s and young people’s rights
and reduce their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.
- Participation of children and young people in making decisions and
supporting and educating their peers.
- Communication to challenge the social norms that increase children’s
and young people’s risk for HIV infection.
- Quality dialogue between adults, young people and children.
- Economic opportunities and vocational training to reduce children’s
and young people’s vulnerability to HIV infection.
- Quality lifeskills, sexual health and HIV/AIDS education in and out
- Child-friendly and youth-friendly health services.
- Support and care for children and young people living with, affected
or orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
- Reduction of stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS.
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is the leading
advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS. It brings together seven UN agencies
in a common effort to fight the epidemic: the United Nations Children’s
Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations International Drug
Control Programme (UNDCP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO)
and the World Bank. UNAIDS both mobilises the responses to the epidemic
of its seven cosponsoring organizations and supplements these efforts
with special initiatives. Its purpose is to lead and assist an expansion
of the international response to HIV on all fronts: medical, public health,
social, economic, cultural, political and human rights. UNAIDS works with
a broad range of partners - governmental and NGO, business, scientific
and lay - to share knowledge, skills and best practice across boundaries.
ON HIV/AIDS SITUATION IN SINGAPORE
For the first nine months of this year, another 150 Singaporeans were
found to be HIV infected. This brings the total number of HIV infected
Singaporeans to 1,080 as at 30 Sep 99. Among them, there were 468 asymptomatic
carriers, 251 with full-blown AIDS and 361 have died.
Of Transmission of HIV Infection Among Singaporeans
Sexual transmission remained the main mode of transmission among Singaporeans
accounting for 96% of all reported cases (1,040 out of 1,080 cases). The
remaining HIV infected Singaporeans contracted the infection through intravenous
drug use (21), the perinatal route (11), renal transplant overseas (5),
and blood transfusion (3).
transmission was the most common mode of HIV transmission among Singaporeans
since 1991, accounting for 72% of all reported HIV infected Singaporeans.
Most of these cases contracted the infection through unprotected casual
sex and sex with prostitutes in Singapore and overseas.
of HIV infected Singaporeans
The major (954 cases) of the HIV infected Singaporeans were males and
126 were females giving a male to female ratio of about 8:1. Two-thirds
(65%) of the cases were between the ages of 20 - 39 years at the time
of diagnosis. About 83% were Chinese, 7% were Malays, 6% were Indians
and 4% Others.
of the reported cases were single. Among the males, 65% were single while
among the females majority (70%) were married. Since 1991, there has been
an increase in the number of married persons among HIV infected Singaporeans
from 14% in 1991 to 38% in 1998. For the first nine months of this year,
39% of the reported cases were married.
The ministry would like to emphasise that the only way to avoid AIDS is
to remain faithful to one’s spouse and to avoid casual sex and sex with
prostitutes. A HIV infected person looks and feels normal during the early
stage of the infection. It is therefore not possible to tell if a person
is infected by looking at his/her appearance.
Ministry would also like to remind those who are at risk of being infected
with the HIV virus not to donate blood. They should see their doctors
for HIV screening. All women who are pregnant are encouraged to be screened
for HIV infection so that measures to prevent transmission from mother
to infant could be taken early. The Ministry would like to assure that
the identities of persons who come forward for testing and those who are
found to be HIV positive will be kept strictly confidential.
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 20 avenue Appia,
1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. e-mail: email@example.com Internet: http://www.unaids.org
- Ministry of Health, Singapore.