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Sexually transmitted diseases in Singapore: All you need to know

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are a scourge of modern society, and Singapore isn’t exempt from them. In fact, the rate of STD infection in Singapore has increased sharply in recent years.  It’s important that sexually active people in every country arm themselves with knowledge about STDs in their area and protect themselves. Here, we look at the current state of STDs in Singapore and some basic ways to ensure that you and your loved ones can protect yourselves.

Giving you a healthy, helping hand
Giving you a healthy, helping hand

Reporting in Singapore
In many countries, obtaining statistics on rate of infection and total numbers of infected individuals can be quite difficult, since patient identity remains confidential. In Singapore, however, this is not the case. By law all new serious sexually transmitted infections – namely: chancroids, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and syphilis – must be reported to the Singapore Ministry of Health (SMOH) for follow-up monitoring.

The intention of this reporting is to provide care for the infected individual and those around him or her and to limit the spread of disease. Regardless, the SMOH does admit that some cases do slip through the cracks as a result of under-reporting.  On the other hand, it has also caused a few people embarrassment and some others have refused testing for fear of discovery. So, without a doubt, the system is far from perfect, but at least most Singaporeans have an idea of the risks faced, and that treatment is available.

The ones to watch out for…
The most common serious venereal disease in Singapore is gonorrhea, which can be spread through all forms of sex. When left untreated, it can have serious consequences. For information on gonorrhea symptoms, treatment, and prevention visit the Singapore Health Prevention Board’s gonorrhea page (Warning: Slightly Not Safe For Work!).

Additionally, HIV/AIDS is on the rise with a 469 new cases diagnosed in 2013, bringing the total number of Singapore residents dealing with this incurable disease to about 3,000. For a brief run-down of all the most common STDs in Singapore, head here.

Fortunately, most sexually transmitted infections are treatable, especially when detected early. Furthermore, should you ever discover you have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease, it’s the right thing to do to discreetly inform your sexual partner(s) as soon as possible so they can get tested, and receive treatment if needed.

Protect yourself
The importance of using a condom every time cannot be overstated, since condoms can prevent both unwanted pregnancy and most STDs. So talk to your children before they become sexually active so that they know how to protect themselves.

Finally, because the cost of medical care in Singapore is constantly on the rise, it is highly recommended that everyone protect themselves with a comprehensive health insurance policy that includes coverage for any medical care required to treat STDs.