6 March 2013
A total of 513 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections were reported to the Department of Health (DH) in 2012, compared with 438 reported cases in 2011.
Reviewing the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) situation in 2012 at a press conference today (March 6), the Consultant (Special Preventive Programme) of the Centre for Health Protection of the DH, Dr Wong Ka-hing, said sexual contact remained the major mode of HIV transmission in Hong Kong.
Of the 513 new cases, 254 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual exposure and 126 via heterosexual contact. There were seven cases of drug injection, one case of perinatal transmission and one case via blood or blood product transmission outside Hong Kong. The routes of transmission of the remaining 124 cases had yet to be determined due to inadequate information.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, a total of 120 people tested positive for HIV, taking the cumulative total of locally reported HIV infections to 5 783 since 1984.
Of the 120 HIV cases reported in the fourth quarter last year, 53 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual contact, 26 via heterosexual contact, three through drug injections and one via perinatal route. The routes of transmission of the remaining 37 cases had yet to be determined due to inadequate information.
The 120 cases comprised 93 males and 27 females.
Twenty-five new cases of AIDS were reported in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing to 1 353 the total number of locally confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985. Forty-four per cent of the new AIDS cases were related to homosexual or bisexual contact and another 44 per cent were attributed to heterosexual contact.
In the same quarter, the most common AIDS-defining illness was Pneumocystis Pneumonia, a kind of chest infection.
The newly diagnosed HIV cases in the fourth quarter of 2012 were reported by three major sources, public hospitals and clinics (43 cases), private hospitals and clinics (26 cases) and the AIDS Unit of the DH (21 cases) respectively.
Of the newly reported cases in the fourth quarter last year, 67 per cent of them (80 cases) had received HIV specialist services at the DH or the Hospital Authority.
"Members of the public with a history of unsafe sex should take an HIV test. They can call the DH's AIDS Hotline at 2780 2211 for a free, anonymous and confidential HIV test," Dr Wong said.
"They should use a condom for safer sex to reduce the risk of contracting HIV," he remarked.
"HIV is the cause of AIDS and, without treatment, about half of the HIV-infected people will progress to AIDS within 10 years," Dr Wong added.
Members of the public can visit the DH's AIDS website ( www.aids.gov.hk ) for more HIV/AIDS-related information.