Science has progressed since HIV laws were enacted

The report (Man jailed for not telling partner about his HIV status; Aug 2) is a good reminder that everyone should get tested and seek treatment immediately, should they test positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Science has repeatedly shown that treatment saves lives, returning millions to health, economic productivity and longevity.

With treatment, the risk of transmission to the sex partner ceases, as seen in the case of the patient Ben (Decoding the life of an HIV patient; July 10).

Treatment is prevention. The "undetectable = untransmissible" or "U=U" movement is the new ethos in HIV care, and gained renewed traction at the International Aids Conference held recently in Amsterdam.

Condom use and faithfulness to one's partner can also reduce, if not eliminate, HIV transmission.

Science has progressed since the time laws on HIV were enacted.

Is the law still relevant if the patient was taking medicine consistently, thus suppressing the virus and making it untransmissible?

Ignorance begets ignorance. HIV is divisive, with epidemic levels of social stigma against those with the condition.

Instead of blaming someone for non-disclosure, we can all move towards getting to zero transmission and stigmatisation, with knowledge, empowerment and action.

Leong Hoe Nam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2018, with the headline 'Science has progressed since HIV laws were enacted'. Print Edition | Subscribe