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Concern raised about upsurge in HIV and AIDS cases among Filipinos in HK

17 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

 

13 Filipinos were found to have HIV, and 4 with AIDS, in the first half of 2020

Seven Filipino males and six females in Hong Kong had tested positive for HIV while four other Filipinas were found to have full-blown AIDS from January to June this year, a Department of Health spokesman said.

The upsurge in cases of HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, which could lead to AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, has raised concern from Domestic Workers Corner, a Facebook group that helps troubled Filipino helpers in Hong Kong.

Rain Tuando, a group administrator, said in an interview that she has received messages from more than 10 Filipina workers in this city seeking help regarding their HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

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Most of those who contacted the DWC reportedly got infected by their boyfriends here, while one said she was infected by her husband when she went home for a vacation.

Tuando said she would again post a warning about the health menace on the group’s page and advice members who suspect they have been infected to go for a test.

Some HIV/AIDS concern groups or nongovernmental organizations in Hong Kong are offering free confidential testing as part of their advocacy.

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The 13 Filipino HIV cases for the half year nearly equaled the 14 recorded for full-year 2019 while the four female AIDS cases were four times more than the lone Filipino case last year, statistics from the Centre for Health Protection showed.

No Filipino male contracted full-blown AIDS for the first half of the year, but there was a big jump in those who were infected with HIV. From just one in the first quarter of the year, the number jumped to six in the second quarter.

Among Filipinas who were tested in the second quarter, HIV cases added four more to the two recorded in the first quarter, for a total of six in the first half of the year. Those with AIDS rose to four from just one in the first quarter.

DWC helps advise those infected on where they should go for consultation


The CHP figures showed that across Hong Kong, 141 new HIV infections were reported in the second quarter, taking the cumulative total of HIV cases reported locally to 10,550 since 1984.

This compares with 129 additional cases in the first quarter involving 105 males and 24 females. Of these cases, 57 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual sex and 34 via heterosexual sex. 

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A CHP spokesman said in a media briefing on the second-quarter HIV/AIDS situation in late August that safe sex is the best way to avoid infections.

“Sexual transmission remained the major mode of HIV transmission. Members of the public should use condoms consistently and properly so as to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV,” he said.

Of the 124 male and 17 female second-quarter HIV cases, 79 were infected via homosexual or bisexual sex, 24 via heterosexual sex, and one via drug injection.

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The routes of transmission of the remaining 37 cases have yet to be determined due to incomplete information upon notification, the spokesman said.

The new cases were mainly reported by public hospitals, clinics and laboratories, 71 cases; AIDS service organizations, 22 cases; and the health department’s Social Hygiene Clinics, 20 cases.

Of the 91 HIV-infected people, 65% have already received HIV specialist services from the health department or the Hospital Authority.

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In addition, 36 new cases of AIDS were reported this quarter, of which 21 cases or 58% were attributed to homosexual or bisexual sex and 13 cases, or 36%, were related to heterosexual sex.

The routes of transmission of two cases have yet to be determined. Since 1985, a cumulative total of 2,176 confirmed AIDS cases have been reported in Hong Kong.

The most common AIDS-defining illness was Pneumocystis pneumonia, a kind of chest infection, the spokesman said.

“HIV is the cause of AIDS and, without treatment, about half of HIV-infected people will progress to AIDS within 10 years. On the contrary, early HIV treatment with antiretroviral drugs helps prevent AIDS and its complications,” the spokesman said.

He said HIV treatment improves the quality of life and prolongs the survival of infected.

 

Filipino HIV/AIDS new cases in Hong Kong, 1H20

HIV 

AIDS

First quarter

Male

Female

Male

Female

1

2

0

1

Second quarter

Male

Female

Male

Female

6

4

0

3

Source: Centre for Health Protection

 

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