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Number of Reported HIV Cases in Hong Kong Increases Nine Percent

February 26, 2014

This article was reported by the South China Morning.

The South China Morning Post reported that new HIV diagnoses in Hong Kong rose to 559 cases in 2013 -- a 9-percent increase from 2012 -- continuing a three-year trend of record-breaking HIV incidence. Dr. Wong Ka-hing, the health department's special preventive program consultant, noted that 80 percent of new diagnoses occurred among men; he attributed 60 percent of new cases to male-to-male sexual contact. The health department estimated that 25 percent of new cases resulted from heterosexual contact, and a small number stemmed from injection drug use. The cause of 21 percent of new HIV cases was unknown. The total number of HIV cases in Hong Kong since 1984 was 6,342.

Neighboring regions of Shenzhen and Guangzhou and western counties also recorded increased HIV incidence. Wong urged a change in prevention efforts directed toward homosexual and bisexual men since present strategies have not been effective. Andrew Chidgey, chief executive of the nonprofit organization AIDS Concern, suggested that many young homosexual men do not have a memory about high AIDS death rates in the 1980s and 1990s and, therefore, did not protect themselves by using condoms during sex.

Wong announced a forthcoming community surveillance study among homosexual men and suggested that rising incidence could reflect increased HIV testing. He recommended that high-risk populations such as homosexuals, sex workers and their clients, partners of HIV-positive people, and intravenous drug users have HIV tests every 6-12 months. Without treatment, approximately half of those infected with HIV would develop AIDS within 10 years; treatment reduced the AIDS risk by 90 percent.

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