Concern As Surge in 17 New AIDS, HIV Cases Among Filipinos in HK

A total of 13 Filipino citizens in Hong Kong had tested positive for HIV, while four other Filipino women were found to have full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from January to June this year, Hong Kong’s Department of Health reported.

The 13 Filipino HIV cases recorded in the first half of the year almost equaled the 14 total recorded cases in 2019 while AIDS cases quadrupled last year’s number.

The figures are part of the city’s Centre for Health Protection numbers showing 141 new HIV infections reported in the second quarter, bringing the cumulative total of local HIV cases to 10,550 since the recording was made in 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.

Domestic Workers Corner, a group assisting troubled Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong raised the concern after receiving requests for help from more than ten Filipina workers regarding their HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 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, said Rain Tuando, the group’s administrator.

Tuando advised members who suspect they have been infected to go for a test.

“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,” a CHP spokesman said in a media briefing.

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, according to The SUN.

“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 those infected.

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