HIV/AIDS Situation In First Quarter Of 2007

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Hong Kong Department of Health revealed that 91 people were tested positive for HIV antibody in the first quarter of 2007, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 3 289.

There were 20 new cases of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) reported in the same quarter, bringing to 875 the total number of confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985.

Reviewing the HIV/AIDS situation in Hong Kong at a press conference, the Consultant (Special Preventive Programme) of DH, Dr Wong Ka-hing, said the predominant route of HIV transmission in this quarter remained to be sexual contact.

"Of the 91 new HIV cases reported, 20 acquired the infection via heterosexual contact, 35 via homosexual or bisexual contact, seven via injection of drug and one case of blood/blood product infusion. The routes of transmission of the remaining 28 cases were undetermined due to insufficient data.

The 91 cases comprised 72 males and 19 females.

In this quarter, the most commonly presenting AIDS defining illness was Pneumocystics Pneumonia (PCP), a kind of chest infection, which was closely followed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (TB).

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The newly diagnosed cases of this quarter were reported by four major sources: public hospitals and clinics (37), private hospitals and clinics (25), Social Hygiene Clinics (11) and the DH's AIDS Counselling and Testing Service (13).

Of the newly reported cases in this quarter, 56 (61.5%) have received care at the HIV specialist services of the Department of Health or the Hospital Authority.

Dr Wong also called on members of the public, with a history of unprotected sex to go for an HIV test.

The appeal was made after one of the clusters of HIV infection, with similar genetic sequencing was found to have expanded, echoing rising number of reported HIV infections in men who have sex with men. These suggested the presence of a rapid local HIV transmission among the affected people in Hong Kong.

The cluster has expanded from 34 to 53 cases as at the end of March this year. These cases belonged to HIV-1 Subtype B, a type of HIV infections. They were all men aged between 22 and 54. Of them, forty-six were Chinese. Most newly added cases were reported between October 2006 and March 2007.

Dr Wong said homosexual and bisexual contacts (sex between men) were the most common mode of transmission in this cluster, which accounted for 79 per cent.

He reminded members of the public to use condom for safer sex and reducing the risk of HIV infection.

They can call the DH's AIDS hotline on 2780 2211 for a free, anonymous and confidential HIV test.

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