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AIDS/HIV News Archive: HONG KONG S.A.R.


Hong Kong HIV Infections Fall 12 Percent in 2003 24/02/04 -- Agence France Presse

The number of new HIV cases in Hong Kong fell 12 percent last year, the government said Tuesday. In 2003, a total of 229 people tested positive for HIV, down from 260 people in 2002. Sexual transmission was responsible for 70 percent of the reported cases, and 14 percent of the cases were reported in people aged 55 or older, said Health Department spokesperson S.S. Lee. Lee said the number of cases dropped significantly for five months beginning in April as the SARS outbreak kept people away from clinics. Although the number of new infections dropped last year, Lee maintained that HIV/AIDS is still a concern. "The high HIV rates in neighboring cities, extensive human mobility across borders and high-risk behaviors are some of the factors that may predispose Hong Kong to an upsurge of the epidemic," said Lee.


More Elderly People Affected by HIV 25/11/03 -- South China Morning Post

Senior Medical Officer Dr. Chan Kam-tim said recently that HIV is increasingly infecting middle-age and elderly people in Hong Kong. So far this year, that age group's proportion of HIV cases has increased to almost 14 percent. On 157 people diagnosed as HIV-positive through September, 21 were age 55 or older, and most were male, Health Department figures show. Chan said the mode of transmission for this age group is unsafe sex. "I think it is a definite possibility that the high proportion of elderly people infected may be related to commercial sex," he said. Because seniors tend to be diagnosed with HIV later than other age groups, they are more likely to develop AIDS, Chan said. "The reasons may be due to depressed immune status as a result of increasing age, neglect of HIV symptoms and low perceived HIV risk." The phenomenon shows the importance of spreading the message that "no matter what age you are, if you practice unsafe sex, you have a high chance of contracting the AIDS virus." However, he said the department has no plans to target seniors specifically for AIDS prevention. In all, 2,172 people in Hong Kong have been diagnosed with HIV since testing began.


Hong Kong Protesters Demand Beijing Investigate Disappearance of Chinese AIDS Activist 02/09/02 -- Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Rights campaigners marched to China's representative office in Hong Kong Monday and urged Beijing to investigate and publicly explain last month's disappearance of mainland AIDS activist Wan Yanhai. But security guards at the Chinese government liaison office shut the gates and tossed a petition letter back to the protesters several times before finally tearing it apart, said Hong Kong activist Christine Or. The roughly 20 protesters later dispersed peacefully, she said. Wan exposed the spread of AIDS in the central Chinese province of Henan through blood-buying businesses that re-injected people with contaminated blood. Wan disappeared on Aug. 24, according to the New York-based group Human Rights in China, a few weeks after officials shut down his offices on the mainland and stripped his organization of its legal registration. Wan's high profile and politically sensitive work have antagonized some Chinese officials.


HIV Cases Jump 10 Percent in Hong Kong in 1996 Jan 28, 1997

The number of HIV-infected people in Hong Kong grew 9.8 percent from 1995 to 1996, the Hong Kong health department reports. In 1996, 134 people became infected, bringing the total number of infections since 1984 to 776. -- Reuters


70 PERCENT BELIEVE A KISS CAN LEAD TO AIDS Nov 1, 1996

Seven out of 10 people believe they can contract AIDS through kissing, a Hong Kong survey has revealed. And 40 per cent of the 15,000 people surveyed believe they can catch AIDS from a toilet seat. The same number said they thought the virus could be transmitted through coughing or sneezing. Eighty-five per cent of those polled said they understood they could not contract AIDS by having dinner with a sufferer, compared to 68 per cent last year. AIDS Concern spokesman Bella Luk To-chu said "the ignorance and stigma (of AIDS) have not improved". -- SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST


WELFARE GROUPS SNUB CHARTER ON AIDS EDUCATION Oct 10, 1996

Hundreds of social welfare groups are continuing to snub moves to increase awareness of AIDS. They are refusing to sign a charter which aims to ban discrimination against HIV-infected workers. Although 24 social welfare groups yesterday signed the Community Charter on AIDS, another 200 organisations could not be budged, said the director of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Hui Yin-fat. Mr Hui said the council had applied for up to an extra $1 million from the AIDS Trust for educational purposes.

-- By JANE MOIR, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST


We care -- but not in our backyard June 23, 1996

HIS face ravaged by AIDS, disc jockey J.J. Chan reached out to millions of Hong Kong households last year in a poignant TV advertisement appealing for greater understanding and community support for people suffering from the illness. JJ (as he was popular known) was not the only Hong Kong celebrity to have been afflicted by AIDS, but he was the first Chinese to publicly acknowledge he was suffering from it. He spoke of his fears at telling his family and the happiness he felt when his brothers and sisters rallied round him. "After all, it's only an illness," he said at the end of the message.

It was an act of courage by a dying man who wanted to do his bit for Hong Kong's AIDS awareness campaign. The JJ ad continued for several months after his death last year. But judging from the crowd of some 200 men and women at Richland Gardens in Kowloon Bay late last month, it looks like JJ's appeal -- and numerous similar messages spread through TV, radio, newspapers and display panels at MTR stations -- had fallen on deaf ears.

With clenched fists and faces twisted in anger, these normally law-abiding people defied the law and flaunted their prejudice against AIDS sufferers. They had formed a human barricade at a Richland Gardens site in Kowloon Bay to obstruct construction of a multi-purpose government clinic where people suffering from AIDS and venereal diseases will also be treated. The month-long protest came to a head when police moved in to disperse the protesters, who are dead set against the construction of the 11-storey health centre near their homes.

The centre will also house an out-patient clinic, an X-ray centre, a nursing home for the elderly and an STD clinic. Apparently, there are still popular misconceptions about AIDS and how it is spread. To many people, AIDS is spread by prostitutes, drug addicts, and gays. Having an AIDS clinic in their midst would encourage vice, pimps, triads, and drug traffickers.

"People still believe that you contract HIV by breathing the same air, by shaking hands, by looking at them, by walking in the same street and eating off the same plate," said Dr Vincent Lam, director of AIDS Concern.

The Government estimates that between 4,000 and 7,000 people are infected with HIV. Of these, 664 are HIV-positive and 188 have developed AIDS. According to the Hongkong Standard, there have been many reported cases of discrimination in recent years -- such as public outcry at the vocational school for children with behavioural problems in Sha Tin; the elderly infirmary in Tuen Mun; the mentally-ill activity centre near Laguna City in Lam Tin; the Down Syndrome resource centre in Wong Tai Sin; and the community rehabilitation network for chronically-ill patients in Sham Shui Po. None of these services were welcomed by residents nearby. -- by Charles Chan, Sinday Star


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