The Hong Kong Advisory Council (ACA) on AIDS today announced the “Recommended HIV/AIDS Strategies for Hong Kong (2017-2021)”. The strategy announces targets by the end of 2020 to achieve the following objectives:
90% of key populations access HIV combination prevention services;
90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status;
90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy; and
90% of people who are on treatment achieve viral load suppression
AIDS Concern considers the vision of the Hong Kong Advisory Council is a big step forward to inspire and can play a positive role in fighting HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong.
We support that vision and work with the government and the community to achieve it.
Last week the Department of Health announced that the number of new HIV infection cases in the first quarter of 2017 was the highest since record began in 1984, with the numbers of young people living with HIV increasing. The targets cannot be achieved without pushing faster on new innovations such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and sexuality education for young people.
(A) To promote "pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP"
AIDS Concern has been supporting comprehensive prevention strategies, including the use of condoms, testing, and early treatment. Many studies have pointed out that if properly used PrEP can effectively prevent HIV and is a key reason why the the new HIV infection rates in San Francisco and Sydney and London are falling. PrEP is not yet widely available in Hong Kong; AIDS Concern calls for for wider adoption of PrEP in the public health system. ACA suggests that “local research and pilot studies targeting young and high risk MSM and sero-discordant couples should be given high priority.” AIDS Concern expresses its support and welcome. We urge the government to implement the pilot studies as soon as possible so as to facilitate the use of PrEP and effectively stop the spread of HIV.
(2) To strengthen the full implementation of sex education
The numbers of young people living with HIV is increasing. In the era of information development, adolescents have more access to information on sexuality, but sex education has lagged far behind. The guidelines for sex education in Hong Kong have not been updated since 1997. Some of these materials and guidelines are outdated, and even "sex" is still a taboo. Due to the lack of positive sex education, students often misunderstood sex and HIV/AIDS, leading to unnecessary high-risk sexual behavior. Therefore, AIDS Concern suggests that the Government should review the existing guidelines and provide students. Good education can include skills of communication with their partners in their daily lives and the problem solving skills for peopleof facing sexual health problems in addition to educating students on their physical knowledge.
May 22, 2017