A total of 373 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) were reported to the Hong Kong Department of Health (DH) last year (2006), the highest annual number ever recorded.
The figure showed a 19 per cent increase when comparing to 313 in the preceding year.
Reviewing the AIDS situation in Hong Kong at a press conference today (February 27), the Consultant (Special Preventive Programme) of DH, Dr Wong Ka-hing said sexual transmission had continued to be the major mode of HIV spread in Hong Kong.
In the fourth quarter of 2006, 98 people were tested positive for HIV antibody, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infection to 3 198 since 1984.
Of the 98 new HIV cases reported, 23 acquired the infection via heterosexual contact, 30 via homosexual or bisexual contact, 16 through drug injection and two via perinatal transmission. The routes of transmission of the remaining 27 cases were undetermined due to inadequate information.
The 98 cases comprised of 83 males and 15 females.
Fourteen new cases of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) were reported in the fourth quarter of 2006, bringing to 855 the total number of confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985. Twenty-nine per cent of the new AIDS cases were related to heterosexual contact.
In this quarter, the most commonly AIDS defining illness is Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (TB), and is closely followed by Pneumocystic Pneumonia (PCP), a kind of chest infection.
Of the 3 198 cumulative total of HIV infections since 1984, around 75 per cent were acquired infection through sexual contact. Of them, sixty-seven per cent of the sexually transmitted infections are from heterosexual transmission and 172 infections have occurred among injection drug users.
The newly diagnosed cases between October and December of 2006 were reported by four major sources: public hospitals and clinics (48), private hospitals and clinics (20), Social Hygiene Clinics (10) and the Department of Health AIDS Counselling Service (8).
Cumulatively, the four sources have accounted for 45.3 per cent, 21.5 per cent, 14.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent of all reported infections respectively.
Of the newly reported cases in this quarter, 65(66.3%) have received care at the DH’s HIV Specialist Services or the Hospital Authority.
Seventy-four per cent of the reported cases in the year 2006 had attended these services where effective antiretroviral treatment was offered according to clinical indication.
The DH monitors the HIV/AIDS situation through a voluntary reporting system. The first cases of HIV and AIDS were reported in 1984 and 1985 respectively.
Dr Wong said members of the public with suspected risk should call AIDS Hotline (2780 2211) for counselling. HIV antibody testing may also be arranged as appropriate through this hotline.
HIV is the cause of AIDS and, without treatment, half of the HIV-infected people will progress to AIDS within 10 years.