A continuing rise in HIV infections among men who have sex with men
AIDS Concern urges for early testing and safer sex practices
[For immediate release] 26th May, 2015
Today (26th May), the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health has announced that 173 cases of HIV infections were reported in the first quarter of 2015 (Jan to Mar), bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 7166 since 1984. 96 cases were acquired via homosexual or bisexual contact in this quarter, of which 43 (44.79%) are male aged 29 or below, revealing a trend of increasing HIV infections among young gay men. 18 positive cases were identified by AIDS Concern after conducting 656 HIV tests to gay and bisexual men in the last quarter.
Mandy Cheung, Programme Director of AIDS Concern, highlights that unprotected sex is the main route of transmission. According to their recent research, the condom use rate among gay and bisexual men, especially with regular partners, is relatively low. ‘AIDS Concern has collected 2296 questionnaires completed by gay and bisexual men during the period of 1st April, 2014 to 31st March, 2015, 1155 questionnaires reveals that the respondents have had sexual intercourse(s) with their regular sex partner(s) in the past 6 months, but 478 of them (478/1155, 41.39%) reveal that their respondents did not use condoms every time, of which 224 questionnaires (224/478, 58.61%) indicated that respondents’ trust towards their partner is the reason behind their low condom use rate.’
According to the HIV and AIDS Response Indicator Survey (HARiS) 2014 for Men who have Sex with Men, the HIV prevalence among MSM is 5.85%, meaning that it is relatively easier for gay and bisexual men to get infected with HIV with just a single episode of unsafe sex, compared with other communities. Therefore, AIDS Concern recommends that all gay men protect themselves by using condoms consistently.
To aggregate the situation, the HIV testing rate among gay men is unsatisfactory. According to the HIV and AIDS Response Indicator Survey (HARiS) 2014 for Men who have Sex with Men, 37.7% (387/1026) interviewed gay men still have not reached out for testing services in the preceding year. HIV testing is the most reliable way of knowing one self’s HIV status. It does not only enable people to get early treatment and improve their health dramatically, but also suppresses the virus in their body and reduces the risk of passing HIV onto others.
Therefore, Mandy strongly urges the gay men who take HIV testing regularly to encourage their friends to reach out for HIV testing services. ‘We have a mobile app called POP app, which is specially designed for the gay community, where the users could book HIV testing and acquire information about HIV and safer sex. Our one-stop testing services at AIDS Concern are free, anonymous and confidential with counselling, referral and support services.’
Download POP app at http://www.men2mentesting.com/en/page/pop/ .
AIDS Concern Rapid Testing Services
Testing Location: AIDS Concern Yau Ma Tei Health Service Center
Address: Unit 602, 6/F, King Centre, 23-29 Dundas Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Enquire & Booking Hotline: 2394 6677
For media enquiries and details about the above press release, please kindly contact:
Miss Spring Kok, AIDS Concern Assistant Communications Manager
Tel.: 2898 4411/9324 1242 E-mail: Spring.firstname.lastname@example.org
About AIDS Concern
“AIDS Concern” was established in 1990 as the first non-government charity organization committed to the service of AIDS-care and consultation in Hong Kong. Our vision is to create “TRIPLE ZERO” Hong Kong, this means ZERO new infections, ZERO stigma and ZERO AIDS deaths. AIDS Concern will lead social change by individuals, organisations and society to achieve TRIPLE ZERO, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and eliminate stigma for people living with HIV.
Address: 17B, Block F, 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: (852)2898 4411
Fax: (852)2505 1682