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CHP reviews local HIV/AIDS situation in first quarter of 2017 (with photo)
     A total of 202 additional cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection were reported to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) in the first quarter of 2017, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 8 612 since 1984.

     Reviewing the latest HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) situation in Hong Kong at a press conference today (May 19), the Consultant (Special Preventive Programme) of the CHP, Dr Kenny Chan, said that sexual transmission remained the major mode of HIV transmission.

     Dr Chan stressed the importance of proper use of condoms in reducing the risk of contracting HIV. Men who have sex with men (MSM), who dominate the epidemic, are strongly urged to use a condom for safer sex.

     "HIV is the cause of AIDS and, without treatment, about half of HIV-infected people will progress to AIDS within 10 years. HIV treatment prevents AIDS and significantly prolongs survival," he said.

     "HIV-positive people should seek specialist care as soon as possible," he added.

     Of the 202 HIV cases, 180 males and 22 females, reported in the above quarter, 116 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual contact, 26 via heterosexual contact, two via drug injection and one via perinatal route. The routes of transmission of the remaining 57 cases have yet to be determined due to inadequate information.

     These new cases were mainly reported by three major sources: public hospitals and clinics (80 cases), AIDS service organisations (34 cases) and private hospitals and clinics (30 cases). Among them, 117 (58 per cent) have already received HIV specialist services at the DH or the Hospital Authority.

     In addition, 17 new cases of AIDS were reported in the above quarter, bringing to 1 783 the total number of confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985. Among the new cases, 53 per cent were attributed to homosexual or bisexual contact and 47 per cent were related to heterosexual contact.

     In the above quarter, the most common AIDS-defining illness was Pneumocystis pneumonia, a kind of chest infection.

     As an annual exercise, the CHP conducted the HIV and AIDS Response Indicator Survey in 2016 and findings showed that the percentage of condom use had slightly decreased among MSM (65.7 per cent in 2015, 59.9 per cent in 2016) and male-to-female transgender (82.1 per cent in 2015, 55.6 per cent in 2016). Their HIV testing rate and that of people who inject drugs also slightly dropped as compared to previous similar surveys. Findings and analysis of the survey will be uploaded to the DH's Virtual AIDS Office.

     "Members of the public, particularly high-risk groups, should use a condom consistently and properly. Those with a history of unsafe sex should take an HIV antibody test early. People who inject drugs should avoid sharing needles with others and should receive methadone treatment as soon as possible," Dr Chan said.

     The public can call the DH's AIDS Hotline (2780 2211) for a free, anonymous and confidential HIV test. The public may visit the DH's Virtual AIDS Office (www.aids.gov.hk), the Red Ribbon Centre (www.rrc.gov.hk), the AIDS Hotline website (www.27802211.com), the Gay Men HIV Information website (www.21171069.com) and the Harm Reduction website (www.harmreduction.gov.hk) for more information on HIV/AIDS.
Ends/Friday, May 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:45
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