Harm Reduction Approach to HIV Prevention
In response to the online election flyer of a legislative council candidate, Mr Wong Sing Chi, about the claim of promoting drug use of a closed website “Flying High Landing Safe”, AIDS concern would like reiterate that the website was designed based on the harm reduction theory, which involves a range of non-judgemental strategies and approaches to provide the knowledge, skills, resources and supports to be safer and healthier. It was never the intention of AIDS Concern to promote drug use. We regret to know that Mr. Wong once again misunderstands and misleads the public towards the use of “harm reduction” in reducing the rising local HIV epidemic.
AIDS Concern has always been aware of the sensitive nature of the issue on drug use. However, there are many research studies showing the correlation between HIV transmission and drug use. As a public health organisation, AIDS Concern feels that there is a pressing need to address this controversial issue.
“Flying High, Landing Safe” is a special project funded by the AIDS Trust Fund in 2007-2008 to curb the HIV epidemic, targeting at men who have sex with men (MSM) who are using or contemplating to use drug. It is part of our concerted effort to respond to concerns indicated by the Department of Health on the rising HIV epidemic in relation to factors such as Internet, drugs and sex parties.
The harm reduction approach has shown to be successful in several countries. The intention is not to encourage drug use but to provide objective information on the effects of drugs as well as the harm and risks associate, such as addiction, harm to the body system and the risk of HIV transmission. Factual information would help individuals to make more informed decisions regarding drugs and their heath. Relevant information such the Narcotic Division’s list of Voluntary In-patient Treatment and Residential Drug Rehabilitation Programme were also provided for those who are contemplating to stop using drugs.
AIDS Concern believes drug use is one of the major risk factors of HIV transmission. Therefore we see the urgency to address this issue to continue to maintain the low prevalence of HIV in Hong Kong. As stated in our Mission statement, AIDS Concern will continue to do our best to keep HIV prevalence in Hong Kong low through targeted prevention and care programmes for vulnerable communities.
For media enquiry, please contact Ms Mandy Cheung (Acting Chief Executive) at 2898 4411.