Groups working with Aids and HIV sufferers say their efforts are being severely hampered by static funding and bureaucratic delays by the Aids Trust Fund, which has paid out the same amount of money each year for the past decade despite an increase in the number of patients. They also complain that their efforts to gain assistance are hampered because the fund's council is made up largely of people with no frontline experience of the disease. But the head of the fund, Chan Tai-kwong, insisted there was no need to increase the annual payout of HK$20 million, even though the number of infections had risen from 776 in 1996 to 3,004 in June. 'Resources given to us by the fund are extremely lacking. A decade ago, there was one case every three days. Now each day has a new case. Funding should be increased accordingly,' said Loretta Wong Wai-kwan, chief executive of Aids Concern. Alice Chan Lai-hing, former chairwoman of the Hong Kong Coalition of Aids Service Organisations and chief executive officer of the Society for Aids Care, said that despite a threefold increase in their caseload in the past six years, the fund had not given it any more money. Dr Chan said he saw no need to increase overall yearly funding as the needs of people had not increased. He said the board would reduce funding for some projects to release money for more needy projects. Some projects have been rejected altogether, including an education programme for middle-aged women run by the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, which has had to close. Ms Chan, of the Aids service group, said the fund's board members met only once every few months to discuss projects, which was not enough given the increasing number of projects that has accompanied the rise in infections.