17 Dec 2004

AIDS ignorance high in Singapore: survey

Someone in Singapore has got to be brave, fight back the fear and say the words "Sex, penis and condom", in the same sentence in the local media. For a country where prostitution is as close to legal as you can get, it's hypocritical to cite 'traditional' family orientated values as the reason for not facing reality of a looming AIDS epidemic among the population.

The article below claims that so far the information on HIV and AIDS was targeted at 'niche' groups. If only HIV could somehow be made aware that it should be targeting a 'niche'. Sounds like someone in the ministry of health has been reading some guru, 'vision' based management mumbo jumbo. Doesn't the word 'niche' come from marketing or advertising jargon. The researcher (Vivien Lim) seems to be pointing at the same conclusion but is probably living in Singapore and therefore 'self-censoring', in order to maintain the 'stable society' that Singapore is.

"Any organisation which boasts one Statement of Purpose. one Vision, five Values, six Goals, seven Strategic Priorities and eight Key Performance Indicators without anyclear correlation between them is producing a recipe for total confusion and exasperation." (Francis Wheen, 2004:p.56)

Or in the case of the Ministry of Health, A Mission and Strategic Thrusts. I sense the hand of Spring and SQC, SQA, management mumbo jumbo.

Agence France-Presse
Singapore, December 17

One in three Singaporeans believe they can acquire AIDS through a mosquito bite, according to a survey published Friday that said ignorance of the deadly disease had not improved in five years.

Twenty percent of Singaporeans also believe that HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, can be transmitted via a cough or a sneeze, while 16 percent say scientists "don't know as much as they claim" about the issue.

An associate professor at the National University of Singapore Business School carried out the survey on 100 young adults who had at least a secondary education, with many having a university degree, the Straits Times said.

The associate professor, Vivien Lim, said the findings of the survey were not surprising because campaigns to raise awareness in Singapore had only been targeted at niche groups.

"A nationwide campaign to inform the public about AIDS, in particular about ways to prevent its spread, is an essential first step in the battle against the disease," the Straits Times quoted Lim as saying.

"Unless the battle against AIDS is fought with the same concerted effort as the war against SARS, uncertainty, ambivalence and anxiety about the disease will continue to prevail."

The issue has become a hot topic in Singapore after Senior Minister of State for Health Balaji Sadasivan last month said the city-state was facing an "alarming AIDS epidemic".

The government has said the number of new HIV cases was likely to surpass 300 this year, from just two recorded in 1985, 111 in 1995 and 226 in 2000.

Singapore has recorded a total of 2,332 HIV infections to date, of whom 874 have died, 564 have full-blown AIDS and 894 show no symptoms.

Reminds me of a few previous articles that I have posted on the same issue. Someone in Singapore has got to be brave, fight back the fear and say the word "SEX" in the local media.

Lets Beat AIDS Without Talking About Sex
Condoms and the Fight Against AIDS

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