Fund for HIV families

First Published  -30 Nov 2007

IMAGINE this: Self-administering an HIV test could be as convenient and accessible as a pregnancy test.

Dr Balaji Sadasivan, the Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Information, Communications and the Arts, has hopes now that an oral self-test kit able to give results in 20 minutes is available.

“Today, you can buy pregnancy test kits at 7-Eleven. I hope the Ministry of Health will study this HIV testing and make it available more readily for the public,” he said at the launch of the first fund that helps needy families affected by the human immunodeficiency virus.

The Care for the Families Fund — initiated by Rockeby biomed, the distributor of OraQuick Oral HIV test kits and run by Action for Aids Singapore — was launched in conjunction with World Aids Day on Saturday. Rockeby contributed $5,000 and has pledged 50 cents from the sale of every kit over the next three years.

Dr Balaji stressed the value of testing: “We have to find a way to save lives by having people diagnosed early (so) they can go on medication to prevent complications.”

As of end-June, there were 3,224 HIV patients here, and most women are infected by their husbands. Affected families spend more than half of their income on HIV treatment for husband and wife.— CHANNEL NEWSASIA