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International News

New HIV Infections Among Homosexuals Up Sharply in Hong Kong

June 4, 2007

Hong Kong health officials recorded 91 new HIV infections in the first quarter of 2007, of which 35 were in men who have sex with men (MSM). That compares to the 29 MSM cases detected in the first quarter of 2006 and 19 in the same period of 2005.

"If there is no intervention, HIV-infected [MSM] could hit 15,000 by 2020 in Hong Kong, that would be a prevalence of 30 percent," said Wong Ka-hing, a Health Department consultant. Currently, HIV prevalence among MSM is estimated at 4 percent. Experts consider any high-risk group as having a concentrated epidemic at 5 percent prevalence.

AIDS groups say the spike in new HIV cases among MSM is not limited to Hong Kong. High MSM prevalence rates were also found in Thailand (28 percent), Taiwan (8 percent), Vietnam (8 percent), Cambodia (14 percent) and Nepal (4 percent), according to an August 2006 report by TREAT Asia. MSM also comprise a considerable proportion of new HIV cases in South Korea and Singapore.

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In Hong Kong, health officials are troubled by a cluster of HIV infections among MSM that grew from 34 cases last September to 53 in March. "From genetic sequencing, we determined they were all together," said Wong. Government officials are looking into whether a "super-spreader" is involved, as well as the Internet's role, he said.

Loretta Wong of the Hong Kong-based group AIDS Concern cautioned the government against focusing too much on MSM at the expense of other high-risk groups.

Back to other news for June 2007

Adapted from:
Reuters
05.29.07; Tan Ee Lyn


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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