An alarming rise in HIV infections among men who have sex with men
AIDS Concern urges for early testing and treatment
Today (24th February), the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health has announced that 152 cases of HIV infections were reported in the fourth quarter of 2014 (Oct to Dec), bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 6993 since 1984. A total of 651 new cases of HIV infections were reported in 2014, with 378 cases acquired via homosexual or bisexual contact and more than 200 cases (30%) aged 20 to 29. About 20% cases were identified by AIDS service organizations and of which nearly 50% (57 cases) were reported through AIDS Concern.
Mandy Cheung, Programme Director of AIDS Concern, highlights that the stigma associated with gay people is one of the reasons contributing to the high epidemic. ‘According to the frontline research of AIDS Concern, over 40% of the interviewed gay and bisexual men said that they are deterred from having HIV testing because of the fear of disclosing their sexual orientation.’ Stigma and discrimination pose a serious barrier to early testing and is a significant hindrance to efforts in containing the epidemic.
Andrew Chidgey, Chief Executive of AIDS Concern commented further that inadequate education about diverse sexualities poses a serious barrier to the establishment of a gay-friendly social environment. Also, it makes it difficult for the young gay men to understand the risks they may face and learn how to protect themselves. ‘Many schools think that homosexuality is a taboo and avoid touching on the topic. Same-sex relationships are not discussed and the education on sex talks only about contraception and sexual relations between men and women. This means there is no opportunity for the young gay men to understand the serious risks they may face in unsafe sex, making them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS,’ Andrew said.
To tackle the rising epidemic among gay men, Andrew emphasized that it is important to give them targeted HIV preventive information, so that they can understand the effects of HIV on their health and be aware of the importance of early testing and treatment. AIDS Concern urges anybody who may have engaged in high risk sexual behavior to take an HIV antibody rapid test. The one-stop testing services at AIDS Concern are free, anonymous and confidential with counselling, referral and support services.
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
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
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