AIDS and HIV Infection
Sign In

Patient Care

 AIDS and HIV Infection

 AIDS and HIV Infection

What is HIV?

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS).

What is AIDS?

AIDS is the final stage of the disease caused by untreated HIV.

How is HIV passed?

• Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person.
• Sharing infected syringes and needles (e.g. between injecting drug users).
• Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, at birth or through breast feeding.
• Transfusion with contaminated blood and blood products (all blood donation equipment used in Singapore is sterile and not re-used).

HIV cannot be spread through casual contact (eg. hugging, holding hands, sharing utensils and food).

What are the signs and symptoms?

Most people with HIV do not show any signs or symptoms.

There are different stages of the infection:

(A) Primary HIV Infection

Occurs soon after acquiring HIV; flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes, fever, discomfort and rash lasting about 2 – 3 weeks.

(B) Asymptomatic Stage

No signs or symptoms and can last for many years.

(C) Persistent Generalised Lymphadenopathy

Unexplained lymph node enlargement in the neck, underarms and groin for more than 3 months.

(D) AIDS & Related Conditions

This is the advanced stage of the disease. It takes an average of 8 to 10 years from the time of exposure for an untreated person to show the first signs of AIDS. Symptoms like fever, unexplained weight loss and diarrhoea are common. Rare cancers and infections may develop, and common infections may be severe.

All people infected with HIV are able to spread the infection to others through unsafe high risk activities.

Who should get tested?

Get tested if you have ever had unprotected sex. You should consider getting tested every 6 to 12 monthly if you engage in any of the following high-risk activities:
• Unprotected vaginal or anal sex with multiple partners, casual partners, sex workers or known HIV-infected people.
• Sharing of needles when injecting drugs.

Get tested for HIV if you have been diagnosed with another STI, especially syphilis.

HIV testing at the DSC Clinic is private and confidential. It is not anonymous. If you require an anonymous test, contact the registered anonymous testing clinics. The list of registered anonymous testing clinic can be found on the Health Promotion Board website []

How is HIV diagnosed?

The DSC Clinic routinely screens HIV for all patients attending the clinic. If you wish to opt out from the test, please let us know.

The window period for HIV is the period between the point of infection and the time a HIV blood test detects the infection. This is between 1 to 3 months.

If the blood test is done during the window period, the result is not as reliable. Re-testing is advised at 3 months if your initial test was negative.

At DSC Clinic there are 2 ways to get tested:

• A blood sample taken from the arm (known as HIV Antibody Blood Test). Results usually take 3 to 5 working days.
• A drop of blood taken from your finger or an oral swab sample (known as a HIV Rapid Test). Results usually take an hour.
If the screening is reactive, a confirmatory test will be carried out. Results take approximately 14 working days.

Meanwhile, abstain from sex to avoid the possibility of passing the infection to others while awaiting the result of the confirmatory test.
A positive test result does not mean that the person has AIDS, which is the end stage of the infection. AIDS is diagnosed when certain types of life-threatening infections and cancers develop in a HIV-infected person.

Can HIV be treated?

Yes, HIV can be treated but currently, there is no cure.  Anti-HIV medications are available to keep the infection under control so a person stays healthy. Treatment also reduces the risk of the infection being passed on to someone else.

Can HIV cause other problems?

HIV infection weakens the body’s immune system so it is easier for an HIV-infected person to get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people.

HIV in pregnancy

HIV infection of an infant born to an HIV infected mother can be almost completely prevented if the pregnant woman is taking medication during the pregnancy. Consult your doctor for appropriate measures to avoid passing the infection to your baby.

Important Notes


• HIV positive individuals are required by law to disclose their HIV status to their partners before engaging in sexual intercourse (it is against the law to knowingly infect another person).
• HIV positive individuals are recommended to disclose their HIV status to medical and dental personnel performing invasive procedures on them.
• HIV positive individuals are encouraged to get their sexual partners and others who might be exposed (such as children of HIV positive mothers) to get tested.


If the person is Notification to​ Action taken​
Married​ Spouse​ National Public Health Unit will inform the spouse if the person does not do so within a
given time frame​
Non-Singaporean and married to
Singaporean/PRs ​
Immigration & Checkpoint Authority​ Person will be granted renewable short- / long-term social visit pass​
Non-Singaporean and not married to Singaporean/PRs ​ Immigration & Checkpoint Authority​ Person will be asked to leave Singapore and denied from further entry​
Non-Singaporean and working in
Immigration & Checkpoint Authority and Ministry of Manpower*​ Employment pass / work permit withdrawn (a short extension may be granted in exceptional cases)​

 *Notification of positive HIV results to Ministry of Manpower is for statistical purposes. This process is confidential.

HIV positive individuals will be referred to the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which is the national referral centre for HIV / AIDS for further management. You may also have your condition managed at another hospital-based HIV clinic of your choosing.


We have attempted to provide full, accurate and up to date information in this patient information leaflet, based on current medical evidence and opinion. However, information and advice may vary from different sources, and over time. If you have any further questions, see your doctor or healthcare provider.



Download Patient Information Leaflets


Last update on 19 Sep 2014
  • Site Map
  • © Copyright 2017 Department of STI Control. All Rights Reserved