HIV rate stable but 'safe sex is still vital'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 June, 2010, 12:00am

The Health Department is urging people to practise safe sex in an attempt to keep the city's HIV rate down as the latest figures show little change in the number of new cases in the first quarter.

Some 101 people became infected with HIV from January to March, and there were 19 cases of Aids, said Dr Wong Ka-hing, the Department of Health's HIV/Aids consultant.

'A lot of these infections could have been avoided with proper use of condoms, as sexual contact remains a major mode of HIV transmission in Hong Kong,' he said.

Of the 101 new cases, 37 were transmitted homosexually and 20 heterosexually. Most involved men aged between 30 and 39, and about 60 per cent of homosexual men and 50 per cent of heterosexual men became infected in Hong Kong.

There was one case of a mother passing on the virus to her child. Wong said since all pregnant women were tested for HIV, the number of infections in newborns had dropped. Last year only three cases were reported. Wong said that in most of these cases, the infants got the virus because their mothers had not been diagnosed early enough.

'This shows that pregnant women still need to remain alert although the number of infections has dropped.'

Wong urged anyone who was worried to contact 2780 2211 to arrange a free and anonymous HIV test. They can also contact several NGOs, such as Aids Concern.