Sex(ually transmitted infections) and our City…

… and how everyone else views us.

I was reading an article in the newspapers last Saturday (“More Teens getting Aids, other sex diseases”, The Straits Times, 23 September 2006), and was saddened by news that not only has the number of teens here with sexually transmitted infections more than doubled in the last four years, the number of teen HIV infections has also increased drastically.

In the article, which for some reason I could not find reproduced online, there was mention that the eight teens who tested HIV positive in the last three years were all gay. I remember my first reaction upon reading the article was ambivalence about them announcing that all the infections occurred in gay male teens, simply because:

a) I just KNOW that many (straight) teens will be given a false sense of security, and
b) it puts an unfair spotlight on the gay community and ignores the fact that this disease will eventually spread to the teenage heterosexual community and transmission will probably skyrocket when it does, if statistics in older demographics are anything to go by.

It’s reminiscent of how when AIDS became first known, it was labelled a gay disease.

The other interesting thing that arose out of this report was that, in my quest to find an online version of article I read, I managed to find only a truncated one produced by wire agency AFP and picked up by news agencies all over the world, including our very own TODAY and Yahoo! News UK.

There was one line in that version that isn’t found in the ST article and I quote it here:

“Officials have expressed alarm over the growth of HIV infections but the government has rejected widespread promotion of condom use and instead partly blamed the problem on the gay community.”

What does that say about Singapore and how the rest of the world views this city-state?

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