More people were diagnosed as having HIV in the first three months of this year than in any quarter since records began in 1984. Health Department statistics showed 45 more people had contracted the virus. There are now 821 cases. Of the 18 new cases of AIDS reported, 12 involved men over 45, compared with five in the last quarter and two at the start of 1996. Health Department consultant physician Dr Lee Shui-shan said middle-aged heterosexual men tended to view AIDS as a young person's disease. 'They are invariably men who are having sex without condoms. They might have three partners and think that's a very small number in comparison to others,' said Dr Lee. 'Perhaps because they are older they haven't seen it as a risk to them and so they also didn't seek advice until they developed full-blown AIDS.' Dr Lee said it was likely the sufferers had caught HIV about five or six years ago, but did not develop symptoms and did not seek treatment until too late. Of the total HIV carriers, 721 were men and 100 women and most had contracted the virus sexually. About half of those who contract HIV develop AIDS. New medical treatment only helps people diagnosed early. Of the 18 new AIDS cases, 15 were diagnosed late. AIDS Concern spokesman Graham Smith said more information was needed on the sexual practices of middle-aged men who made up the bulk of callers to the organisation's help-line. 'A large percentage have visited sex workers and the scenario of nipping across the border to Shenzhen is becoming more common,' he said. The local AIDS Foundation says it will target older age groups through family campaigns and education in the workplace. The figures also show four babies were born with HIV and two have developed AIDS. None was recorded this quarter.