Singapore: Study estimates 210,000 men have sex with men in S’pore, at risk of HIV

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) estimate that 210,000 men here have sex with other men, and they could face a concentrated epidemic of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).The figure is more than double an earlier less rigorous estimate of 90,000 men.

The research, conducted at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, marks the first time researchers have estimated the number of people in groups in Singapore who are at risk of HIV infection.

There are four key “hidden” population groups most likely to acquire and transmit HIV. They are estimated to be:

  • 210,000 men who have sex with men

  • 72,000 male clients of female sex workers

  • 4,200 female sex workers

  • 11,000 intravenous drug users

Published on May 9, the report provides the first empirical estimates of these groups living here. The study was funded by the Health Promotion Board and the Singapore Population Health Improvement Centre.

Singapore does not have a systematic approach to collecting data on the size of these key populations at risk of HIV. Not knowing these numbers prevents a gap in stamping out or treating HIV, which the report seeks to address.

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