For nearly three decades Singaporeans have fought the AIDS epidemic with community action and research-led healthcare. While the toll has been immeasurable the gains have also been extraordinary. Through courage and determination we have now reached a point previously unimaginable: the possibility of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Scientific and social advances have shown we can implement a package of proven strategies to reverse the burden of HIV/AIDS.
We must act on what we have learnt from our own experience and the best evidence from overseas. We have the required expertise and resources. It is time to mobilise these to achieve real advances for those in need. We must demonstrate our collective resolve and commit to “Getting to Zero – Zero Stigma, Zero New Infections, Zero Deaths” caused by HIV/AIDS in Singapore.
To reach our goal together, we endeavour to:
1. Create an enabling environment as enunciated in the ASEAN Declaration of Commitment 2011 and the UN General Assembly Declaration on HIV/AIDS 2011 that empowers people with HIV to live with dignity and enhances HIV care and prevention efforts. HIV-related stigma and discrimination must be eliminated as they marginalise entire communities who should be our allies in Getting to Zero.
2. Expand prevention efforts including accurate prevention information, voluntary counseling and testing, behavioural and biomedical strategies to ensure that our programmes reach vulnerable populations such as young people, people who use drugs, sex workers and their clients, men having sex with men and transgender people. Every Singaporean should be able to learn his or her HIV status without fear of discrimination. All HIV-positive Singaporeans must be linked to care at the earliest opportunity.
3. Ensure access to antiretroviral treatment. Treatment reduces deaths, reduces health care costs and prevents new infections. All those in need should be assured of access to life-saving drugs.
4. Provide accessible, non-discriminatory and comprehensive care to all Singaporeans living with HIV. We must facilitate their engagement in care as full partners with the medical and public health communities, as well as encourage the active involvement of affected and vulnerable groups in planning and implementing services.
5. Review, monitor and evaluate our progress towards Getting to Zero. Best practices in prevention and treatment from international and local efforts must be evaluated, adapted and applied to enhance our programmes in a timely manner.
We declare our commitment to these actions and call for all concerned Singaporeans and residents to join in this pledge by signing this declaration.
It’s time to Get to Zero.
It’s time to end HIV/AIDS in Singapore.
Sign the declaration here. SAC is over, but let’s keep the tolerance and fighting going.