ST Online Forum: Heterosexuals who visit prostitutes greater risk than gays (Aug 16)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Heterosexuals who visit prostitutes greater risk than gays

I REFER to Dr Alan Chin Yew Liang's letter, 'Beware the high-risk 'gay lifestyle' ' (ST, Aug 8).

Using the good doctor's own logic, look at it this way:

As of July, Singapore's population is 4,553,009, with a gender ratio of 0.954 male to female, meaning about 2,171,785 males of which 2.8 per cent are gay (60,809), leaving you with 2,110,976 men who are heterosexual.

The journal Sexually Transmitted Infections asked 11,000 men in a survey in 2000 if they frequented prostitutes, and one in 10 said 'yes'. That comes to about 211,097 cases comprising men having sex with prostitutes (MSPs).

Based on the prevalence of 97.2 per cent of men being heterosexual, and with 9.72 per cent using prostitutes, you have to wonder about the real risk and which lifestyle is 'not cool'.

Some of the Third World countries have as many as 7 per cent of their adult females infected and working as prostitutes while in the developed world, typically, the percentage of infected prostitutes is 1 per cent.

If MSPs sleep with this 1 per cent daily, that's 2,111 men exposed to HIV daily, or 770,515 annually.

The virus is not easy to transmit heterosexually but, over time with multiple exposures, infection is inevitable. These men then act as a conduit to bring the virus home, their other casual sex partners and to their wives.

Sounds to me like MSPs are a higher-risk group than MSMs (men who have sex with men) which is, by its very nature, is a statistically smaller pool. And since I don't sleep with men, it's these MSPs who are worrying me, as they spread their infections to hetero non-prostitute women, and it's why there are more of them with HIV than MSMs - because of their 'lifestyle' which is chosen, unlike MSMs.

For a great hetero viewpoint on gay rights, check out this article by Cher Tan on

Jeffree Benet