I am HIV-positive. So what? | Avin Tan | TEDxNTU

As a gay person living with HIV in a conservative Asian society like Singapore, Avin Tan shares the challenges he faced and life-lessons he learnt after his diagnosis and coming out in the public. He calls for a less discriminating society and a better HIV educated community.

Avin Tan is one of Singapore’s most prominent HIV advocate, and is only the second person to come out as a person living with HIV in Singapore. He stands for the equal rights and support for people living with HIV, as well as better access to care and treatment.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Avin’s Speech at Pink Dot 2015

Avin Tan, Singapore’s second person living with HIV to come out publicly, shares the community stage with his mum at Pink Dot 2015.

He shares about his fears of coming out, how his mum supported him and what he hopes the community can do to make Singapore a better place for all.

Good evening everyone !! How are you doing?
Thank you very much for attending Pink Dot 2015 !!

I’m Avin, I am a person living with HIV and I’d also like to introduce my mum, who has been a solid rock in my life, and someone I look up too all my life. She’s the gungho one.

HIV has been with us for 30 years.
Yet many are still unclear about what it is, and how it affect our lives.

I’ve been working with AfA for many years now, and after many failed attempts to get someone to come out and to accept interviews or share their experience at conferences, I came to the conclusion, that if I cannot convince myself to do so, how can I ask others to do it.

And so, I made the decision to come out publicly in 2012.

My biggest fear when I was preparing to come out, was that I will lose all my friends, lose my fair chance at work, and lose the love from my family.

The dread and anxiety was crippling.

And I’m sure this same fear continue to plague many others who are coming out,  not necessarily as a person living with HIV, but for many, as a LGBTI person.

Yet I’ve been welcomed, supported and loved.

When I first told my mum, her first question wasn’t how or why I got it, but if I can afford the medication. My health mattered more than anything else.

When she said that, a huge weight was lifted.

My mum have showed me her unconditional love and support, and for that I would like to thank her. Thank you Mummy, I love you. With my mom’s blessing,

I no longer need to hide behind a facade. This is incredibly liberating. I am now able to speak openly about it, and share my experience, with others and helping them cope with the disease.

This is what support from one person can do. Now, imagine the kind of things, 20,000 people can achieve. It is because of this support from friends and family, that I can stand here, and speak, and be counted as one.

We’ve lost too many people to HIV and AIDS, such as Mr. Paddy Chew,  and countless nameless individuals who might be too afraid to come out. We’ve remained quiet for too long now. We need to show persons living with HIV and AIDS that we care about them. That we care about HIV and AIDS, and we care about making a difference.

So can I hear some noise Pink Dot 2015??

All twenty thousand of you, make some noise.

This is Pink Dot, this is 2015, and this is where love lives.

So let make Singapore a better place for all.
Here’s a huge thank you to everyone of you, all the volunteers, kind sponsors and the organising committee.

I hope you’ll continue to stand by us.
Thank you, my mum and have a great evening !

Avin Tan

Avin Tan

Coordinated Care Case Manager

Avin is a person living with HIV (PLHIV), and has been working with AFA to raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS in Singapore. Following Mr. Paddy Chew, he is the second Singaporean living with HIV who has come out publicly.