Chief Executive’s Message

The year 2020 marked our official 29th Anniversary!  However, during these 29 years, we have faced many difficult times such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has posed to us.

The Foundation was born with the mission of limiting the spread of HIV infection in the community through the provision of the VCT service, education of HIV prevention and advocacies to curb all types of discrimination towards HIV/AIDS. Our other flagship service is the Support Service for people with / affected by HIV.

AIDS remains an incurable disease. As of today, HIV/AIDS has resulted in estimated 36.3 million deaths from AIDS-related illnesses (since the start of the pandemic) and there are currently around 37.7 million people living with HIV globally.

Since 1984, the accumulated number of HIV infections in Hong Kong has finally hit the threshold of 10,000 (the cumulative number of reported cases was 11,017 as at the end of June). But Hong Kong is still considered a region of low HIV prevalence.

REPORTED CASES OF NEW HIV INFECTIONS

2020 2021
1 Q (Jan – Mar) 2 Q (Apr – Jun) 3 Q (Jul – Sept) 4 Q (Oct – Dec) 1 Q (Jan – Mar) 2 Q (Apr – Jun)
HIV HIV Total
129 141 125 110 101 131 737
AIDS AIDS Total
22 36 32 22 24 26 162

2020 has once again proved to be challenging for all of us who have been working for the Foundation. These challenges were not only concerning the provision of effective service for PLHIVs, but also how to stay competitive among others and how to provide something innovative or flexible amid the still unresolved COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, a huge “Thank You” must be conveyed to all of these wonderful people:

  1. Our major sponsors
  2. Our dedicated staff members and our committed volunteers; and
  3. Our Members of Advisory Board, Executive Board, Service Committee, Investment Committee and Education Committee who consistently offer valuable insights to the Foundation.

Our work could never be successful without great support. Without their generosity and participation, the Foundation would not have been able to build up our momentum to fight against HIV/AIDS.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR WORK (2020)

With the continued support from the Council of the AIDS Trust Fund, we were able to sustain our following core services in 2020:

  1. HIV PREVENTIVE & SEXUAL HEALTH PROGRAMME FOR MSM

The Foundation was not only able to keep the provision of the above-mentioned programmes to encourage every MSM community to sustain a safe lifestyle with regular HIV tests and safe sex adoption, but we were also able to continue to pilot the HIV self-testing scheme targeting Young MSM groups.

  1. “PEER POWER” – HIV PREVENTION AND SEXUAL HEALTH PROGRAMME FOR ETHNIC MINORITIES

The project aimed to curb the spread of HIV particularly among the members of ethnic minorities (EM) by implementing a series of sexual health programmes on HIV prevention education.  Since 2011, the Foundation has been serving EM members inclusive of domestic workers and other blue-collar workers residing in Hong Kong as a pilot project.

  1. HIGH-RISK GROUPS” – A PROJECT TO ACHIEVE A USER-FRIENDLY VOLUNTARY HIV TESTING AND COUNSELLING SERVICE AS WELL AS EDUCATION SERVICE FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGH-RISK BEHAVIORS

“High-risk Groups” was formerly named “Male clients of female sex workers (MCFSW) and people with high-risk behaviours. In 2019, we renamed it as “High-risk Groups” since all of the main targets under this group shared one common feature: engaging in risky sexual behaviour, in terms of occupation (or work nature), hobbies and other behaviour. Besides this, the deeper meaning of the programme title includes our intention first to simply make the project more focused on the areas for non-MSM; second, “High-risk populations” has become a more neutral, widely acceptable term than “sex workers and clients” nowadays. Most importantly, we have included young heterosexual people in this project; a group which, though equally vulnerable to the virus, has not seen government funding to support them.

  1. EMPOWERMENT AND SUPPORT SERVICES FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV (PLHIV)”

This project aimed to empower PLHIV; equip them with the skills to face and tackle their daily problems, maintain safe sex practices; enhance the quality of their lives and involve them in HIV prevention so as to prevent secondary infection also through maintaining a concept of U = U (Undetectable = Untransmittable).

  1. OTHERS (non-ATF Funded)

Public Education

Due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, our HIV/sexual health activities could not be conducted as they were in the past as quarantine policies were put in place by the HKSAR and the majority of the schools and university campuses closed.  In a bid to sustain our public education work, first, we conducted education booths and HIV prevention education at our outreach centre for members of the public who came for an HIV test.  Second, we began to use virtual events to produce online educational / talk-show programmes with specific themes so that our targets would not miss our programmes when staying home.

Publicity

One of the city’s most promising movie stars, Mr. Sing Lam (林耀聲) together with Ms. Angel Lam (林婷), and Mr. Wong Ho Ting, were appointed as our Ambassadors in 2020. These new faces successfully showcased a refreshing, light-hearted look which truly cheered up members of the public during the time when social distancing might have caused some people to feel melancholy.

Fundraising

During a year permeated by the gloomy outlook due to the unresolved pandemic, we were truly thankful to receive some significant donations from various enterprises. To name but a few, Gilead Sciences, Inc., M•A•C AIDS Fund, GSK, Safra Sarasin Trust Company, etc.  We must express our sincere gratitude for those who have always chosen to stand firm with us.

Last but definitely not least, a huge thanks to Sa Sa International Holdings Limited and BEAUSKIN Medical Group for allowing the Foundation’s donation boxes to be placed in their stores.

  1. WORK IN THE MAINLAND

As the COVID-19 pandemic is still unresolved, our frontline work in the Mainland has had to be suspended for a while. With the coronavirus situation improving and vaccines becoming available in many countries, we are confident that the cooperation with our major counterparts in the Mainland will soon be resumed.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Foundation will continue to:
1) help HK maintain a low HIV prevalence;
2) co-operate with our counterparts in the Mainland in accelerating their response to HIV/AIDS; and join with global forces to fight against the AIDS epidemic.
3) set to stick to these critical concepts:
a. the 4th 90%, namely the 90% of people living with HIV can have a good health-related quality of life even amid the unresolved coronavirus situation; and
b. the concept of Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) co-realized by PLHIV and the ones who care about HIV/AIDS.
4) Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) remains as a pilot study in Hong Kong as of 2020 when most of the other regions in the world have already launched it in their own public health systems. As PrEP has been widely recognized as one of the most effective HIV prevention methods, the Foundation will insist to call on HKSAR to officially approve PrEP medication for populations at high risk of HIV. Besides providing some advice on how and where one might obtain PrEP for those who urgently require it, we are currently cooperating with researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in a pilot programme. However, as it is restricted by its scale, we were not able to include as many participants as we would like. All the above-mentioned methods, if without HKSAR’s endorsement, we would not be fully able to cope with the rising demand in the years to come.

And finally, needless to say, our ultimate goal is to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. We will never concede to this virus even if the whole world is still fighting hard to control COVID-19.

THANK YOU!

 

 

 

ENG

 

 

 

Eris, S.S. Lau
Chief Executive

 

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