In discreet corners of these nightspots, volunteers from AFA conduct anonymous testing for any patron who wish to have one for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). These volunteers give out information and let the patrons know that a quick test is available, in a quiet area of the premise away from prying eyes. Some quick points:
- Participants fill up a questionnaire (meant only for data collection for future outreach efforts),
- have the oral swab done,
- then return to be informed of the result in about just an hour.
- Their personal information are not collected at all, even if the results are positive.
Sheela also writes that:
Professor Roy Chan, Action for AIDS President, says the anonymous aspect of these tests creates a necessary bridge which reaches out directly to those who might be affected, but are yet unable or unwilling to have themselves tested by going to a clinic.
… Professor Chan also says making sure Singaporeans remain aware of AIDS and ensuring testing is accessible are both critical in managing HIV-infection numbers in Singapore overall, and in particular, in the MSM (“men who have sex with men”) community. This would also provide AFA with a better handle on what the statistics indicate, in terms of trends with the illness.
“Twenty-five or 30 years ago, it was much more evident that it was a fatal disease. With the advent of very effective treatment for HIV today, it is not a fatal disease now. Because people are not dying, it is not as visible. But the truth of the matter is that there are more people getting infected today that there were 20 years ago.”
Some people who took the anonymous test were interviewed. A Singaporean man was quoted as saying:
“It is a very good thing for the community, because I don’t think enough men who have sex with men get tested. And when you make it mobile and you bring it to them instead, it makes people more receptive. If you are sexually-active, whether you use condoms or not – because of the probability of a gay man having several partners – do the responsible thing and get yourself tested. If you are positive and you pass it on to someone else, do you want that hanging on your conscience? I don’t think so.”
Each test is S$30, cash only to protect the identity of the person having the test done.
For a comprehensive information regarding the procedure, please click here to go to the relevant page on the AFA website. (Click the tab called ‘MTS Process’). That link also provides the page for the Mobile Testing Service Schedule.
If you wish to visit their clinic instead for the anonymous test, the info I got from their website regarding address and operating hours is as follows. Please check the website before going in case there are any changes/updates:
Ongoing ATS Operating Hours: The Anonymous Test Site will be operating as follows:
Tues – 18:30hr to 20:15hr
Wed – 18:30hr to 20:15hr
Sat – 13:30hr to 15:15hr
Please note they are closed this Saturday the 30th of November for their Gala.
Address and contact:
9 Kelantan Lane #03-01
Tel : 6254 0212
Fax : 6256 5903
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook of Action for AIDS Singapore (AFA)
- Facebook for Be Positive, a campaign that aims to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase the acceptance of persons living with HIV.
- Oogachaga: a not-for-profit organization in Singapore providing counselling and personal development for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals.