The HIV Women's and Children's Fund has been launched in Singapore by Balaji Sadasivan, the Senior Minister of State for Health. The object of the fund is to help the women and children who are HIV positive to cope with the treatment they require. The KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) will administer the Fund, which has over US$ 200,000 already.
As many as 10% of the new HIV infections in Singapore are accounted for by women, who continue to remain a vulnerable group. The women in the city-state have no one to care for them, and they often forego treatment to either take care of the children or due to a lack of finances. Singapore has 17 HIV positive children who had contracted the disease from birth, and the only healthcare facility available to them is the hospital.
A child requires anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs costing US$ 9,600 annually to raise its immunity levels, while in the case of an adult it can range between US$ 12,000 and US$ 15,000. The HIV positive women and children will get the ARV treatment for six months from the Fund. The risk of transmission from mother to child can be reduced to 1% from the current 25% by early treatment. The public is also expected to contribute towards the fund which will be utilized for hiring more social workers over the next few months, and build up their capacity to help these people. Singapore has a HIV positive population of 2,584 as of October 2005. The financial burden of the disease is higher as AIDS patients are vulnerable to other contagious diseases like tuberculosis and cholera.