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Prevent HIV with ABCD

Live life to the fullest, go on dates and enjoy a relationship – but don’t forget to protect yourself, and your loved one, from HIV. Learn how you can begin with ABCD now.

Prevent HIV with ABCD
HIV Prevention is as Easy as ABCD  

Preventing HIV is as easy as ABCD.
Find out how you can protect yourself with these four simple steps.

Abstain from Casual Sex

Abstain from casual sex

Abstinence from casual sex is one of the best ways to protect yourself from HIV.

HIV is mainly transmitted by the exchanging of body fluids such as blood, pre-seminal fluids, semen and vaginal fluids. Having sex within a monogamous relationship or marriage, in which both parties have been tested and found to be negative for HIV, is the best way to prevent HIV.

So remember, there is no shame in saying ‘no’.

Be faithful to your partner

Be faithful

The spread of HIV in a population is directly affected by the rate of partner change, and whether relationships are concurrent or consecutive.

Having multiple sex partners increases risk of contracting HIV

Having multiple sex partners, especially concurrently, increases your risk of contracting HIV. When you have sexual relations with one person, you are also exposed to his/her previous sexual partners.

To lower your risk of contracting HIV, it’s best to limit the number of lifetime sexual partners you have or, better still, practise monogamy. A monogamous and faithful relationship can greatly reduce your risk of contracting HIV, as it means that you and your partner only have sexual relations with each other.

Even then, both you and your partner should get tested for HIV before engaging in sexual relations, as you may not know each other’s sexual histories.

Be faithful and you will find yourself staying HIV-free.

Practice safe sex by using condom to prevent and protect from HIV and STI

Condom usage

If you choose not to abstain from having sex, then you should always practise safe sex. Using a condom each time you have sex can be effective in preventing and protecting yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).

However, condoms can only offer protection if used consistently and correctly. Not using condoms puts you at high risk of contracting HIV or other STIs, while improper use can also diminish the protective effect of condoms.

Protect yourself by using condoms consistently and correctly.

Detect HIV at anonymous HIV test sites in Singapore

Detect early

HIV has no obvious telltale signs, and the only way to find out if you have HIV is to get tested. The HIV test detects the presence of HIV antibodies, which are produced by the body in response to a HIV infection.

Most people will develop HIV antibodies within one to three months of infection. However, depending on the individual, it can take anywhere between one to six months for the body to produce enough HIV antibodies to be detected by a HIV test. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HIV, get yourself tested at least one month after the possible exposure. You should also take extra precaution by abstaining from sex until you get tested.

Should I get tested?

It’s important to get tested at least once every six months if you or your partner has engaged in high-risk sexual behaviour, such as:

Get tested regularly if you engage in high-risk sexual behaviour.
  • Having sexual intercourse with sex workers, strangers or casual friends
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Having unprotected sex with someone who is known or suspected to be infected with HIV

You should also get screened for HIV if you:

  • Are starting a sexual relationship with someone new
  • Are unsure of your partner’s sexual history
  • Have ever received blood or blood products from an unscreened source
  • Are pregnant
  • Have ever gone for body piercing or tattooing at unlicensed operators who do not practise good hygiene standards
  • Share sex toys with your partner

Where can I get tested?

You can get tested at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals. In addition, there are ten anonymous HIV test sites in Singapore, where personal particulars are not required when signing up for a HIV test, offering you complete privacy and confidentiality.

How long does it take to get the test results?

HIV rapid test kit can provide results in 20 minutes

Rapid HIV test kits are used in anonymous HIV testing, and results can be available within 20 minutes.

What happens if I test positive for HIV?

If you test positive for HIV, you should start HIV treatment as soon as possible. Although there is no cure for HIV yet, antiretroviral therapy can help slow the progression of HIV and protect your immune system, allowing you to live an active and productive life. You can also find a local HIV support group and talk to others living with HIV.

In Singapore, persons with HIV are required by law to reveal their health status to their sex partner before sexual activities, and to medical and dental personnel before any invasive procedures.

Remember: Early detection helps control the spread of HIV and allows infected individuals to seek early treatment.

About HIV

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It can appear asymptomatic for many years before it develops into AIDS in the final stages.

How does HIV affect the body?

A person with HIV has a harder time fighting off infections because HIV weakens the body’s immune defences by destroying white blood cells that protect the body against bacterial and viral attacks. Once weakened or destroyed, these white blood cells cannot effectively defend the body against infections.

HIV cells destroy white blood cells – worsening common diseases, and increases the risk of certain cancers.

HIV infection can also worsen some common diseases and conditions, and even increase the risk of getting certain cancers. If untreated, infected persons usually die from various infections and cancers, between 1.5 – 3 years after developing AIDS.

What are the symptoms?

A person infected with HIV does not display any visible signs or symptoms. However, depending on the individual, someone with HIV may experience:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Prolonged fever
  • Night sweats
  • Skin rash
  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Lowered resistance to infections

The only way to know for sure if one is infected is through an HIV test.

People who engage in high-risk sexual behaviours (e.g. having multiple sexual partners or engaging in casual sex) should get tested regularly so that HIV and other STIs can be detected and treated as early as possible. Early treatment can significantly delay the onset of AIDS and allow people living with HIV to still lead active and productive lives.

What is the treatment for HIV/AIDS?

At present, there is no cure for HIV. However, treatments such as antiretroviral therapy can help suppress HIV virus replication, thus delaying the spread of HIV in the body and the onset of AIDS.

How does HIV spread?

HIV is transmitted by:

  • Exchanging body fluids such as semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids and blood during unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner infected with HIV.
  • Sharing injection needles and other piercing instruments (e.g. for tattooing or acupuncture) that are tainted with HIV.
  • From an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, at birth, or through breastfeeding.
  • Receiving infected blood and blood products (e.g. organs or plasma).

HIV does not spread via casual social contact such as hugging and touching, through contact with objects such as food or toilet seats, or by insect bites.

HIV in Singapore

Since 2008, the number of new HIV cases reported in Singapore is estimated to be at about 450 every year. In 2019, there were 323 new cases of HIV reported in Singapore. This brings the total number of HIV-infected people living in Singapore in 2019 to 8,618, of which 2,097 have since passed away.

HIV Statistics - 93% male 7% female

Of the 323 cases reported in 2019, 95% were male, and 66% were between 20 to 49 years old. About 97% contracted the virus through sexual intercourse and 52% already had late-stage HIV infection when they were diagnosed.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS day - 1st December

World AIDS Day is held on 1st December every year. It is an opportunity for people all over the world to unite in the fight against HIV, lend their support to the people living with HIV and to remember the people who have died because of it. You can show your support for the millions of people living with HIV by wearing a red ribbon.


Incorrect information on HIV may lead to stigmatising attitudes and discrimination towards people living with HIV. It can also lead to people who are at risk of HIV not coming forward to test for HIV and seeking the appropriate treatment. 

 Know the facts. Prevent the spread of misinformation.

Prevent HIV with ABCD