Youths urged to improve understanding of AIDS (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) and the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) today (November 18) jointly held the World AIDS Campaign 2017 Creative School Projects on HIV/AIDS Prevention Award Presentation Ceremony to support World AIDS Day 2017 on December 1. The programme aims to enhance youths' understanding of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and encourage schools to conduct ongoing sex education.

     Officiating at the ceremony, the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Chui Tak-yi, said, "In the first half of 2017, 389 additional cases of HIV infections were recorded, which is more than two per day. More youths were affected, as over 30 per cent of those affected were aged 29 or below. While the majority were men who had sex with men, it is particularly worrying that some were related to unsafe sex after drug abuse. Their insufficient awareness of AIDS prevention failed to protect them from peer influence on unsafe sex and drug abuse."

     Dr Chui highlighted the FPAHK's latest survey, which revealed that knowledge of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV was in decline among secondary school students. In addition, the DH noted that inconsistent use of condoms was not uncommon among youths. As more HIV cases had been detected among youths, it is high time for the community to explore new and more effective modes of sex education, he said.

     The Creative School Projects programme, under the theme "Know AIDS No AIDS", engaged about 100 students from eight secondary schools and two universities in workshops in July and August covering knowledge of HIV/AIDS and STIs, use of condoms for safer sex, and advice from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on HIV prevention in the community. After the training, enrolled students organised creative activities on their own to promote AIDS awareness on campus.

     Under the programme, some students made good use of campus TV and announcements to promote AIDS education. Some encouraged fellow students and teachers to learn from performances and quizzes in assemblies. Riddles, exhibitions, game booths, story-writing competitions, video production and role-play games are all creative and meaningful means to break the taboo of discussing sexual health and AIDS, so that students will better protect themselves and seek help if necessary.

     Designated as a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Collaborating Centre for Technical Support, the DH's Red Ribbon Centre (RRC) has been closely working with AIDS service NGOs to launch the World AIDS Campaign. Apart from campus activities, health promotion and education in the community and social media are also ongoing, including the distribution of condoms, demonstrations of condom use and publicity in activities of sexual and ethnic minorities.

     Other officiating guests today were the Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, and the Chairman of the FPAHK, Ms Lina Yan. AIDS experts from Shenzhen and Macau also attended the ceremony, namely the Deputy Director of the Shenzhen Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Ma Hanwu, and the Secretary General of the AIDS Prevention and Control Commission of Macau, Dr Lam Chong.

     In addition, the Chairperson of the Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS, Dr Patrick Li; the Chairman of the Council for the AIDS Trust Fund, Dr Thomas Lai; the Chairman of the RRC Management Advisory Committee, Dr Richard Tan; and the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the DH, Dr Wong Ka-hing, also attended.

     The public may visit the DH's Virtual AIDS Office (, the RRC page (, the AIDS Hotline website ( and the Gay Men HIV Information website ( for more information on HIV/AIDS.

Ends/Saturday, November 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:59