29th November 2022 – (Hong Kong) A total of 97 cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection were reported to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) in the third quarter of 2022, taking the cumulative total of HIV infections reported locally to 11,539 since 1984.
Of the 97 additional cases, involving 80 males and 17 females, 41 (42.3 per cent) acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual contact, 26 (26.8 per cent) via heterosexual contact, and one (1.0 per cent) via drug use involving injections. The routes of transmission of the remaining 29 cases were yet to be determined due to incomplete information.
The new cases were mainly reported by three major sources: public hospitals, clinics and laboratories (39 cases); social hygiene clinics under the DH (18 cases), and the AIDS Unit under the DH (14 cases). Also, 61 of the HIV-infected people (63.5 per cent) have already received HIV specialist services at the DH or the Hospital Authority, while one case had left Hong Kong at the time of reporting.
Twelve new cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) were reported in this quarter, of which seven cases (58.3 per cent) were related to heterosexual contact, and four cases (33.3 per cent) were attributed to homosexual or bisexual contact. In this quarter, the most common AIDS-defining illness was Pneumocystis pneumonia, a kind of chest infection. Since 1985, a cumulative total of 2 373 confirmed AIDS cases has been reported in Hong Kong.
The CHP earlier reported an unusual increase of new HIV infections among female sex workers (FSWs) or females engaging in commercial sex, mostly in Yau Tsim Mong District and Sham Shui Po District, observed since August 2021. The CHP has been actively following up on the surge. Additional fieldwork during July to October this year to provide HIV testing/self-testing and enhance prevention for FSWs and their clients near related venues in the two districts have been completed. Outreach promotion had reached over 4 600 FSWs in venues with 224 persons tested. No reports of HIV positive results were received. The CHP also made phone calls from late June to early September to known FSWs of the Social Hygiene Service and encouraged them to come forward for blood tests. A total of 926 FSW clients were successfully reached with 138 persons tested, among which no reports of HIV positive results were received.
The Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS (ACA) today (November 29) published the Recommended HIV/AIDS Strategies for Hong Kong (2022-2027), the blueprint for a co-ordinated and consolidated response on local HIV prevention and control including key policy recommendations and priority areas for action for the next five years.
The ACA spokesperson said, “The number of newly reported HIV cases kept growing from 2010 till it reached a peak in 2015. Since then, a decrease in the number of reports was recorded in the consecutive six years while the trend in the next few years is yet to be observed. Despite the changing landscape of the HIV epidemic amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ACA appreciates the professionalism and efforts made by all workers in the HIV field. They have been working relentlessly with devotion and commitment – not only to maintain clinical and other essential services, but also to develop new and innovative interventions to expand access to testing and other prevention options.”
The spokesperson added that the Strategies provide a framework for various key players to act in concert for the prevention, care and control of HIV/AIDS in the next five years. Many of these initiatives and targets are in line with the recommendations in the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS’ (UNAIDS) strategies, with the shared goal to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The objectives laid down in the Strategies are in line with the 95-95-95 treatment targets, i.e. 95 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 95 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy; and 95 per cent of people who are on treatment achieve viral load suppression, as well as the target of 90 per cent priority populations having access to HIV combination prevention options set by UNAIDS. In addition, specific priority actions for issues of concern are also proposed in light of the current situation and scientific developments.
In the 2022-2027 Strategies, the ACA sets out clear visions and time-bound objectives and targets to be achieved by 2026 and identifies six priority populations, namely (1) men who have sex with men, (2) people living with HIV, (3) ethnic minorities, (4) transgender people, (5) people who inject drugs and (6) female sex workers and their male clients, with recommended priority actions under eight key strategic areas, namely (1) intensify accessibility and availability of HIV combination prevention tools, (2) targeted prevention interventions and education for priority populations, (3) devise specific interventions for sub-groups of concern within priority populations, (4) scale up HIV testing services and enhance and support new testing modalities, (5) strengthen the HIV treatment and care cascade, (6) enhance and promote youth sexuality education, (7) reduce and eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and (8) mobilise collaboration between the Government and the wider society to create changes.
The Recommended HIV/AIDS Strategies for Hong Kong (2022-2027) is the sixth set of strategies developed by the ACA since 1994. The process of its formulation adopted a wide-based approach of engaging different parties, including a Community Stakeholders’ Consultation Meeting and gathering the input of individuals, groups and organisations as well as the general public during the subsequent stakeholders’ and public consultations.
HKSAR Govt Press Release