Hong Kong Promotes AIDS Awareness

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To commemorate the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the Hong Kong Government is launching a series of activities to raise public awareness of the prevention of HIV/AIDS and to promote safe sex.

Speaking at the Kick-off Ceremony of the World AIDS Day 2008, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, noted that Hong Kong recorded a low HIV prevalence for more than two decades since the first case was reported in 1984.

Concerted efforts of stakeholders including Government departments, academics, non-government organisations and various community sectors were essential for curbing the spread of AIDS, he said.

At the end of the second quarter of 2008, the accumulated total of reported HIV and AIDS cases stood at 3 822 and 966 respectively in Hong Kong.

In view of the increasing trend of HIV infections among men having sex with men was in recent years, Dr Chow said the Council for AIDS Trust Fund had set up a special project fund targeted at this at-risk group.

In the past two years, the Fund had successfully allocated a total of $12 million to 38 projects earmarked for preventing AIDS spreading among this group.

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Dr Chow introduced the dedicated webpage on UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China, Miss Miriam Yeung Chin-wah which was launched by Red Ribbon Centre at the ceremony.

He also appealed to members of the public to spread messages on preventive measures as well as participate in publicity activities, adding that they could effective curb the spread of AIDS in Hong Kong.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Health, Dr P Y Lam, said that under the theme of "Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise", World AIDS Day was dedicated to raise global awareness of AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

Dr Lam encouraged members of the public to carry Red Ribbon stickers, which were designed by UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China, Miss Miriam Yeung Chin-wah and several artists, to show their acceptance of and caring for people living with HIV.

Publicity events in the coming months will include a roving exhibition featuring the publicity efforts of the Government and the concerned groups to fight AIDS in the last 20 years and radio programmes to promote public acceptance of people with the disease.

Dr Lam thanked the Commercial Radio for their assistance in co-organising today's event. Miss Miriam Yeung also shared her experience to promote prevention of AIDS in the past decade in Hong Kong.

Also officiating at the ceremony were Head of Department of AIDS Prevention, Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Chen Lin; Secretary of Macao AIDS Commission, Dr Lam Chong; Chairman of the Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS, Professor Chen Char-nie; Chairman of the Council for the AIDS Trust Fund, Professor Chan Tai-kwong; Chairman of Management Advisory Committee of Red Ribbon Centre, Dr Samuel Yu and Director of External Affairs, Commercial Radio Co Ltd, Miss Amy Wong.

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