HONG KONG-Hong Kong launched a campaign in support of World AIDS Day on Saturday, to deepen public understanding on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and prevention, as well as appeal to them to help support people living with HIV.

The Power of Love: World AIDS Campaign 2018 Kick-off Ceremony was held by the Department of Health (DH) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.

In the first three quarters, 452 additional cases of HIV infections were recorded and among them, nearly 30 percent of the cases were aged 20 to 29, the highest proportion among all age groups, the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Chui Tak-yi, said.

"It is particularly worrying that the public's awareness and that of young people in particular of AIDS prevention remain inadequate, failing to protect themselves from peer influence on unsafe sex and drug abuse," he said.

Chui said that HIV infection can now be treated and controlled as a chronic disease. HIV testing facilitates early detection of HIV-infected people, and early treatment prolongs survival and improves quality of life. He encouraged infected people to seek treatment and care as early as possible.

To raise the public's understanding and awareness towards AIDS, the DH's Red Ribbon Center (RRC) has prepared a series of promotional and public education activities under the theme "Power of Love" to reach out to the public via social platform, video and roadshow sessions at various community spots. The RRC will hold a series of activities in December to disseminate health messages to the public on sex and AIDS.

 

 The DH hopes that the public will attend and support these events, as well as share the message on prevention of AIDS and help eliminate the negative stereotypes about the disease.

In the third quarter, 156 additional cases of HIV infection were reported to the Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 9,543 since 1984.

In addition, 34 new cases of AIDS were reported in the third quarter, bringing the total number of reported AIDS cases to 1,959 since 1985.

"HIV is the cause of AIDS and, without treatment, about half of those with HIV will progress to AIDS within ten years. However, early HIV treatment prevents AIDS and significantly prolongs survival," the Consultant (Special Preventive Program) of the CHP, Kenny Chan, said, urging HIV-positive people to seek specialist care as soon as possible.