AIDS in Singapore
Richard Bellamy reflects on the 16 months he spent in Singapore working as a registrar in infectious diseases and HIV medicine
- By: Richard Bellamy
On World AIDS Day, in particular, we should think about the difficulties faced by people living with HIV and AIDS. Although advances in antiretroviral treatment have made AIDS a manageable chronic disease, people with HIV and AIDS still live with a potentially fatal condition, numerous drug side effects, and society's prejudice. In Singapore, people with HIV and AIDS face an additional challenge--finding the money to pay for their extremely expensive drugs, at least £400 ($624; a634) every month for triple therapy.
The Singapore health service has a limited list of drugs which patients can be prescribed at subsidised rates. Antiretrovirals are not included, so patients must meet the full costs. Initially, I thought this burden was a sign of a cruel and insensitive government. After a few months in Singapore, however, I realised that local people place greater value on support from their families than from the State. It was