THE Government yesterday pledged more education for the public and for top policy-makers following the revelation that the number of HIV carriers increased by 71 in 1992, 11 more than the previous year. Last year's cases accounted for 21 per cent of the total 337 carriers in Hongkong since the first case was reported in 1985. In December, seven people, including a female intravenous drug user and six men, were found to be HIV-positive, bringing the total number for 1992 to 71. Four of the men are heterosexual and one is homosexual or bisexual. The sexual orientation of the other is unknown. Of the seven, six are Chinese. Last month, one HIV-infected man developed full-blown AIDS, taking the total number of AIDS patients to 73, of whom 47 have died. Last month's report of seven new cases was not the highest figure for a single month. Under the HIV surveillance programme, which began in 1985, a total of 257,433 blood specimens have been tested for the HIV antibody. Of the 1.2 million units of blood donated since 1985, 26 donors were found to be HIV-positive. The head of the Department of Health's AIDS prevention unit, Dr Lee Shui-shan, described last year's annual figure as a steady increase of between 20 and 30 per cent, which was similar to previous years. But he stressed that the trend was of more heterosexuals than homosexuals being infected. Education on safe sex became more important because 61 out of the 71 new carriers were infected through sex, he said. Commenting on the two intravenous drug users found last year, Dr Lee said: ''The local number of HIV-infected intravenous drug users is very small compared with other Asian countries.'' A total of seven intravenous drug users have contracted the deadly virus, of whom one has developed full-blown AIDS. Dr Lee said the low rate among drug users might be due to the fact that the virus had yet to spread within this high-risk group although there were people sharing needles. The department was mapping out strategies to reach out to drug addicts but Dr Lee would not release details. He said his department was determined to wipe out misconceptions and unnecessary fears over AIDS because Hongkong was experiencing a ''negative social impact'' from the killer disease. Dr Lee said the World Health Organisation also advocated controlling the negative influence of AIDS in communities. ''The number of 300, or even 4,000 [people infected] as estimated, is not so great. The problem is the stigma attached to the disease among the public, fears of the disease in work places, and the effects on patients, their families and friends,'' he said. Dr Lee cited an HIV-infected haemophiliac who was expelled from school, and debates about HIV-positive health care workers' rights to practise after former dentist Mr Mike Sinclair publicly revealed that he was a carrier. ''We are experiencing the negative effects of AIDS but not a real surge in the number of carriers,'' he said. Dr Lee said the problem of controlling the negative influence of the disease had long been accepted by the department, through co-ordination with the Education Department on publicity in schools, but he admitted that more should be done and quickly. As well as regular seminars, school exhibitions and youth projects, the department is to run a youth forum in March, release the results of a survey on sexual behaviour of university students, and host a health carnival next month. Dr Lee said the department's education campaign would also focus on top policy-makers such as headmasters, Legislative Councillors and heads of companies, as these groups were influential in decision-making. Efforts to educate people at a lower level would be wasted if their seniors remained indifferent, he said.