Loretta Wong, social worker/counsellor at AIDS Concern. Age: 28. Career path: I was born and educated in Hong Kong. After completing my A-Levels at Lingnan College I did a social work degree at Baptist College. My sisters are both teachers and my family expected me to follow them; it didn't really appeal to me, although I wanted to work in the community. After graduation in 1992, my first job was with a legislative councillor?who? in Kwun Tong. Then I moved to Caritas and worked in the Community Services Centre in Kennedy Town. I started working for AIDS Concern in 1996 and am now the support services co-ordinator. At first my mother wasn't too happy about me working with people who have HIV, but she has come to understand that it is perfectly safe. I am not married. Wong's day: I get to the office in Chai Wan at around 9.45 am. My schedule varies, but I rarely finish before 8 pm. At least 10 per cent of my time is spent on the phone number?. Callers include those who have tested positive and need advice and support, practically and emotionally; those who have engaged in high-risk behaviour and are considering being tested; and sometimes family members. There are many issues to deal with. If a caller is thought to be high risk - likely to have contracted HIV - then I have to explain the advantages and disadvantages of being tested, what will happen should the test be positive, where to go for the test, and so on. I also talk to them about safer sex. If someone has just found out that they are HIV infected then I would listen to their concerns about finances, their job, their housing, telling their spouse and friends, how to go about getting practical help, and generally how to face the future. We need to assure clients of absolute confidentiality, so when I speak to a new client I ask them what I should call them and we don't ask for real names. Most people who have been recently diagnosed are in a panic and often only have us to turn to because of the stigma they feel. We presently support about 30 AIDS clients with ongoing advice, counselling, and practical help such as home visits, taking them soup, providing free transport service to hospitals, and so on. About 70 per cent of my day is spent travelling. A lot of clients prefer to meet me in a neutral venue, and as our policy is to help everyone with AIDS this might mean travelling to Tuen Mun or wherever I need to go. I might be the only person who knows that the client has AIDS, and they can feel completely deserted and afraid. I also do hospital visits, go to clinics and meet representatives of other AIDS-related organisations. And I am involved in training our volunteer workers. This is a tough job because there is a lot to do, it is physically demanding being in so many places during the day, but I enjoy it. There is something rewarding about helping people in need. I get calls at all times of the day, night and weekend, but I try to encourage people to call me in office hours unless it is an emergency. Salary: $22,000 a month. Ambition: To stay with AIDS Concern. David Simpson, Outreach worker with Kely Support Group. Age: 23. Career path: I was born in Northern Ireland, did a psychology degree at the University of Manchester. At school and university I was a volunteer worker in various youth groups. Then I worked with a youth organisation in Ireland until I came to Hong Kong in January 1997: I had always wanted to come here. I started teaching at an English-language club in Sha Tin, then saw an advertisement for the job at Kely and was lucky enough to be accepted. I spent two months being trained before starting to work on the hotline and giving talks in schools. I suppose I've found my niche working with young people. I live in Mid-Levels and am not married. Simpson's day: No two days are the same. I come into the office in Kennedy Road at about 8 am to catch up on administration, correspondence, contact schools to organise talks, work on Kely's quarterly newsletter, organise volunteers for a special project and keep up to date with research. I set up interviews and prepare for talks at the various ESF (English Schools' Foundation) schools. The rest of my day is spent seeing clients, giving presentations and manning the hotline number? which is open from 9 am until midnight. Some evenings I train hotline volunteers and twice a week I work on the hotline until midnight. Weekends are often spent fund-raising or helping with our projects and events. The Kely Support Group works with and for young people, aged 14 to 25, and our hotline offers help and support whatever the problem, be it drugs, alcohol, depression, peer issues, loneliness, pre-exam nerves ... you name it. My role as an outreach worker is to offer support to young people, help them explore their options and basically help them help themselves. If they have a serious problem I would offer to meet them at the office or a venue of their choice and talk through the issues. I see about two clients a day and a meeting can last up to two hours, depending on the problem. We want clients to see us as a friend and someone to trust. I am very grateful to have go this job because although the hours are long it's exactly what I want to do - relating to and helping young people. Salary: $14,700 a month. Ambition: To stay with Kely for now, and perhaps work somewhere else in the world one day.