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Parliament to debate on AIDS issue and the fight against it (Channel NewsAsia [Singapore])
21 Nov, 2004

SINGAPORE : Parliament will be debating the AIDS issue and the fight against it, when it sits on November 24.

The Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, told reporters he has met with individuals from several groups who have responded to his recent comments on an AIDS epidemic here.

This include those from Action for AIDS, AWARE and also fridae.com, which he said have signed up to partner the Health Ministry in its fight against AIDS.

It was a community event to mark the start of the Senior Citizens Week, but the recent debate over who is responsible for spreading the anti-AIDS message and how, would not go away.

A week ago, Dr Balaji has warned of an AIDS epidemic in Singapore.

And he has hit out at civil group, Action For AIDS, for not doing enough to educate the public on AIDS.

Also criticised, fridae.com for promoting what he called, a promiscuous lifestyle.

Dr Balaji said there was no running away from the fact that whether one is heterosexual or homosexual, it is promiscuity which puts people at risk.

"The Ministry's position is as follows - the first backdrop on which an anti-AIDS programme must be built, must be to get people to have monogamous relationships.

"If you have a single partner, and you have a monogamous relationship with a single partner, then it is very, very unlikely for you to get AIDS, if your partner also sticks to you!"

As for those with multiple sex partners, Dr Balaji said they should be educated on protection against AIDS.

They should also know it is an offence for HIV positive people to have sex with another person without informing him or her of his condition.

On his meeting with AIDS activists just two days ago, Dr Balaji said while they agree on the anti-AIDS messages, they do not agree on which should be highlighted.

Dr Balaji said: "Those who are engaged in promiscuous activities would like the ministry not to emphasise our message of single partner.

"Now because we want to protect people, we do not want people to get AIDS, regardless of their morals, that does not mean that the ministry will take a position condoning a lifestyle that goes against the values of Singapore!"

Dr Balaji said there would be more resources to build up the Communicable Disease Centre where AIDS patients are treated. - CNA.

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