HIV cases in Hong Kong hit record high, with more younger men infected
Many involve males aged 20 to 29, compared with 30 to 39 in the past
The number of new HIV cases in Hong Kong has hit its highest level since records began in 1984 – 202 in the first quarter – with more younger men now being infected.
Figures from the Centre for Health Protection on Friday revealed that 180 men and 22 women were found to be carrying the virus between January and March, bringing the total number to 8,612.
The previous highest quarterly figure was the 195 recorded in the third quarter of 2014.
“Many infected males are between 20 and 29 years old, compared to the major age group of 30 to 39 in the past,” the consultant at the centre’s special prevention programme, Dr Kenny Chan Chi-wai said, stressing the importance of proper use of condoms in reducing the risk of contracting HIV.
Among the new cases, 116 were infected through homosexual or bisexual contact, 26 via heterosexual contact, two by injecting drugs and one involved a baby infected by its mother.
There was not enough information to determine the remaining 57 cases.
“Men who have sex with men, who dominate the epidemic, are strongly urged to use a condom for safer sex,” Chan said.
The centre said the latest cases were mainly reported in public hospitals and clinics (80 cases), Aids service organisations (34), and private hospitals and clinics (30). Some 117 patients had already received HIV specialist services.
A total of 692 HIV cases were reported to the centre in 2016, compared with 725 in 2015.
The latest figures also revealed that 17 new cases of Aids were reported in the first quarter, bringing to 1,783 the total number of confirmed cases reported since 1985.
“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,” Chan said.