On Tuesday (1 Sep), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it has included life-saving Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) drugs in the national schedule of subsidised drugs and treatments.
Following this announcement, Action for AIDS, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting AIDS/HIV infection in Singapore, expressed that it is heartened by this move as it has long championed the need for ARTs to be subsidised and made affordable for all Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).
In a statement earlier today, it noted that international and local experience have shown that ARTs are the most important clinical intervention for improving longevity and preventing opportunistic infections, which in turn leads to PLHIVs leading full and productive lives.
PLHIVs on ARTs and with regular medical follow-up can reach undetectable levels of viral load which in turn negates the possibility of transmitting the virus to their partners, it added.
“As a person living with HIV, I am pleased to note that this move by the Ministry of Health is a major step forward to ending HIV transmission and arresting late stage diagnosis in Singapore, two key aims of our Community Blueprint to end HIV in Singapore by 2030. Being able to access effective HIV medication has truly transformed the quality of the lives of PLHIVs,” said Avin Tan, Advocacy and Partnerships Manager with Action for AIDS and a PLHIV.
“This announcement ensures that everyone who need ARTs can afford it, reducing their overall medical costs and providing sustainable and reliable long-term treatment,” he added.
Welcoming this move, Professor Roy Chan, President of Action for AIDS, Singapore commented, “Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) restores health and prolongs lives of persons with HIV infection (PLHIV). ART also renders PLHIV non-infectious to their sexual partners, thereby stopping the spread of HIV. Ensuring that ART is affordable and accessible will improve the prognosis of PLHIV, and it will also lead to better HIV prevention and control in the country.”
“When we launched our Community Blueprint in November 2019, I said that we needed collective and coordinated actions to make a significant and lasting impact on the HIV epidemic in Singapore. This decision by Ministry of Health will boost our efforts to stop the spread of HIV infection and will reduce stigma and discrimination faced by PLHIVs. This will take us closer to realising a future without HIV possible in our lifetime,” he added.