The inaugural Fund for the Arts is our latest initiative to combat HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, as part of our vision of ending HIV and AIDS in Singapore by 2030. In spite of the great strides in biomedical advancement to manage HIV infections, societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and other key affected populations (such as gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, and sex workers) remain prevalent in Singapore. This continues to be a major hurdle in the way of HIV prevention, voluntary HIV testing, retroviral treatment adherence, and acceptance of PLHIV.
HIV is a complex public health issue that intersects with other bases of discrimination. For those caught in the webs of stigma and discrimination, their sexual health behaviours are adversely affected, including an aversion to voluntary HIV/STI testing. Further, societal stigma prevents community outreach/prevention work and deters access to comprehensive sexual health education and services. We cannot end HIV-related stigma and discrimination without simultaneously addressing the crosscutting discrimination faced by key affected populations.