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Singapore forms
panel to fight HIV

Singapore forms
panel to fight HIV

Singapore has formed a national policy committee to combat the rise of HIV cases, local media reported Monday.

The announcement came with the news that 137 HIV cases had been reported from July through October, bringing the total of new cases this year to 286, Channel NewsAsia quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

''I think the biggest issue and the most important thing is testing, and I think we'll be talking more about that over the next few months,'' said senior state minister Balaji Sadasivan, who will chair the committee. ''The fight against AIDS will be a long-drawn fight.''

The television station said the new committee would start work on December 1, World AIDS Day.

The Health Ministry said that of the 149 cases in the first six months of 2006, 94% were among males. Most contracted the disease through sexual transmission from casual sex and sex with prostitutes in Singapore and overseas, the report said.

Fifty-nine percent of those infected were heterosexuals; gays made up 26%. The rest of the infections were among bisexuals and intravenous drug users, the ministry said.

The Health Ministry said the reported number of new infections is still under investigation.

From 1985 through the end of June, a total of 2,852 Singaporeans have been infected with HIV. More than 1,000 have died. (AP)

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