One of the few good things the late Balaji Sadasivan implemented when Minister of State for Health, was universal ante-natal screening for HIV, allowing for early intervention. From four cases of mother-to-child transmission in 2004, it was brought down to zero in 2008 and 2009. However, two more cases popped up in 2010.
It is truly tragic for anyone to be born with an infection as serious as HIV.
One of the films at the 24th Singapore International Film Festival touches on this. Living with the Tiger (Thursday, 22 Sept 2011, 9:30 pm, Lido cinema) follows two children at Baan Gerda, a small community in Thailand that cares for about 80 children affected by HIV.
Continue reading ‘Seeing a tiger when it’s just a cat’
The saga of insufficient hospital beds continues. Our public hospitals are so full, they have to hire extra space from other institutions. The alternative would be to turn away emergency patients, again. Here’s a headline from the Straits Times, 30 August 2011:
Continue reading ‘Underplanning is in the health ministry’s DNA’
It’s one of the neatest proposals I’ve come across in a long time. In April this year, Professor A J Berrick suggested a progressive ban on tobacco using the turn of the century as the cut-off year-of-birth for the sale of cigarettes.
See a short write up here on Towards Tobacco-free Singapore.
In Singapore, as in many countries, shopkeepers have to check identity cards to ensure that the customer is at least 18 years old before cigarettes can be sold. Some amount of mental calculation has to be performed between the current year and the year of birth as stated in the ID card. Mistakes can happen; more problematically, time is wasted making the mental calculation.
Berrick’s idea was that after 2017, the cut-off year would forever remain 1999. In other words, anyone born in 2000 or later will never be allowed to buy tobacco products. It is a simple cut-off for all shopkeepers to remember.
Continue reading ‘Smoking out public service priorities’
Watching television and shopping are among the things I don’t do much of, so I was rather taken aback when, to fill time, I wandered into Best Denki, an electronics and appliances store. More than half the floor space was devoted to television sets, some of humongous size. It wasn’t so TV-heavy the last time I was here. Wow, TV-watching must be a really big thing in Singapore, I muttered to myself.
Does this explain the rapidly expanding girth of people here?
Continue reading ‘Getting ill and fat from stuffing our eyes with TV’
My father came down with a urinary tract infection last week. At his age, the Emergency Department did not want to risk giving him only outpatient treatment, and decided he should be hospitalised for closer observation. That led to four hours’ waiting for a bed at the National University Hospital.
It so happened that a few days earlier, the Straits Times had a story about the shortage of beds. Again.
The newspaper reported:
Continue reading ‘Hospital bed supply trailing far behind increase in elderly numbers’
In his one-hour talk on 31 May 2011, Australian Justice Michael Kirby (retired) engaged the audience from the Law Society with three key issues as requested by Society president Michael Hwang: the advantages of a having a permanent Law Reform Commission, when and how to refer to evolving international jurisprudence in deciding domestic cases and the legacy of anti-gay statutes from the days of the British Empire.
Continue reading ‘Gay equality helps fight HIV, but don’t oversell it’
Which of these two options would a rational person choose?
1. Live normally but die an early death, or
2. Live longer, but starting tomorrow, life becomes a living hell for the rest of your (longer) years.
I would be extremely surprised if anyone can claim to be rational and still pick #2. Yet our Health Ministry, by their impenetrable logic, expects people to choose the second.
Continue reading ‘Singapore’s HIV policy neither rational nor compassionate’
You’re a heterosexual male, HIV-free, feeling horny tonight and in Singapore. Which partner presents the lowest chance of exposure to the HIV virus?
1. A casual (girl)friend you’ve known for a while
2. Your wife, or fiancée to whom you’re engaged to be married soon
3. Someone you’ve just met at a singles bar
4. A sex worker operating out of a licenced brothel
5. A freelance sex worker you picked up in a bar or on the street outside.
Continue reading ‘Horny straight guys’ choices’
Published 22 November 2010
health and hiv
In extremely convoluted comments, Pope Benedict XVI is reported to have said condoms may be permissible in certain situations. This appears to be the first time a head of the Roman Catholic Church has varied the church’s long-standing opposition to condom use.
His comments were made in interviews for a book, excerpts from which were published by a Vatican newspaper over the weekend.
Continue reading ‘Pope relents (a bit) on condoms, Burmese junta couldn’t care less about HIV’
The four of them looked like they were two married couples. Like me, they had just come out of a screening of Amit Virmani’s documentary Cowboys in Paradise, whose subject matter was the beach boys of Kuta, Bali, and their relationships with female tourists.
“There were no Indian girls there,” remarked one of the two women in her recogniseably Indian accent to the rest of the group. “I guess Indian girls are too smart for all that.”
One of the men following behind — perhaps her husband — replied: “There are no Indian girls because the boys only go after Westerners.”
Which was not true; the film clearly showed a number of Japanese women involved.
Continue reading ‘Cowboys in paradises’