New survey data of 15 years of testing released today by AIDS Concern for World AIDS Day on 1 December shows that many people diagnosed with HIV did not think they were at risk. Many people infected had only one regular sex partner. Also, many of those tested positive had never been tested before or had only been tested a long time ago. AIDS Concern was the first local non-governmental organization to provide rapid HIV testing services.
AIDS Concern urges more people at risk to test if the Hong Kong epidemic is to be beaten. The number of new HIV infections in Hong Kong this year is likely to hit record high since records began in 1984. The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health released figures on 24th November which show that there have been 541 new infections in the first 3 quarters. In 2014 there were 651 new HIV infections in the year. Please see http://www.info.gov.hk/aids/english/press/2015/151124.htm for the government data.
Program Director of AIDS Concern Mandy Cheung said, ‘The data on 15 years of testing of AIDS Concern shows that more people at risk should test for HIV regularly for the epidemic to be beaten. When people are diagnosed and receive treatment, the virus level can be reduced to a very low level so that it is unlikely to pass HIV to someone else.
‘Many members of the public underestimate their HIV risk and do not get tested. 35 people were diagnosed HIV-positive at AIDS Concern from April to October this year. Among the 32 who responded to the question of how at risk they thought they were, one-third said they perceived themselves to be at low to medium risk. Reasons for considering themselves at low risk reported include having the gut feeling that their sex partners do not have HIV and having only 1 sex partner.
‘However, among those tested positive at AIDS Concern in 2015 and responded to the question of how many sex partners they had had for the preceding 6 months, 22.58% reported to have only 0-1 sex partner. Moreover, in 2015 among those diagnosed positive at AIDS Concern and responded to the question of time of last test, 32.3% reported to have been tested more than 1 year ago and 19.4% reported to have never been tested.
‘Also, 119 of those who were tested at AIDS Concern from April to October 2015 reported not having been tested before because they had not had any symptoms. However, HIV can have no symptom at all. This misconception should be addressed and we urge more members of the public to get tested.’
Please click here for more data (Chinese only).
Correct HIV risk assessment should include these factors: (i) whether one has had unprotected sex, (ii) whether one knows the HIV status of their sexual partner(s) and (iii) whether one has multiple sex partners. Those at high risk should be tested every 3 months.
AIDS Concern will have a testing week from 1st (Tue) to 7th December, 2015 (Mon), where members of the public can get tested at our Health Service Centre in Jordan (Flat B, 3/F, Fu Lee Commercial Building, 14-20 Pilkem Street, Jordan) at our mobile testing sites. The testing service is anonymous, confidential and free and comes with counselling and referral services.
AIDS Concern also launches a new online booking system of the testing services today. The URL of the system is https://test.aidsconcern.org.hk/en/appointment. Appointments can be made on our hotline 2394 6677 too.
For further information, please contact
Tel: 2898 4411 / 9753 9074