We finally finished the last video interview on Thursday 15th October. There is very little time left to get the documentary and book out before the end of the year, and with the required viewership necessary to meet the KPI’s agreed upon by MCCY and ourselves. The source materials and the interview discussions have been incredibly rich, and I wish there was more time to write a proper book, instead of just a coffee table book with photos. However, as Prof Goh Kee Tai wisely said, “No one will read a thick book with few photos on infectious diseases in Singapore!”

I have personally gained new appreciation for several aspects of infectious diseases management and control in Singapore, especially with regards to HIV. This is something I have generally steered clear of since my traineeship days, not because I have any moral or ethical issues, but because it has always struck me that HIV is a chronic disease (managing chronic diseases was a push factor for my choosing ID) and the issues have more to do with society and culture rather than actual medical care in the long run. In fact, medical care of HIV in Singapore has long been compromised by social issues and governmental policy. But here are two extracts from the recent interviews:

Anonymous person with HIV: “I understand this infection doesn’t spread through food. But I impose this thing on myself where I don’t share. Some people will say they don’t mind sharing, but perhaps subconsciously they have this fear. I just want to make them feel that it is okay to hang out with me.”
Anonymous person with HIV: “I understand this infection doesn’t spread through food. But I impose this thing on myself where I don’t share. Some people will say they don’t mind sharing, but perhaps subconsciously they have this fear. I just want to make them feel that it is okay to hang out with me.”
Prof Roy Chan, founder and president of Action for AIDS (Singapore): “We continue to push for the rights of HIV-infected persons as human beings and (for them) not to be considered as criminals or lepers.”
Prof Roy Chan, founder and president of Action for AIDS (Singapore): “We continue to push for the rights of HIV-infected persons as human beings and (for them) not to be considered as criminals or lepers.”

The good news is that HIV infection rates in Singapore appear to have plateaued, and treatment is far more accessible now than in the previous couple of decades.

HIV infection, Singapore (Source: Ministry of Health).
HIV infection, Singapore (Source: Ministry of Health).
Advertisements