Hong Kong AIDS Foundation expressed concern over a total of 173 additional cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections in the first quarter of 2015 reported to the Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health. The cumulative total has hit a record high of over 7,000 infections since 1984.

A three-month survey was conducted by Hong Kong AIDS Foundation with the interview of 1,160 Hong Kong residents who visited hangouts and entertainment hotspots in Shenzhen from July to September 2014. Among the respondents, 42% was under or aged 29, 10% higher compared with the age group of 30 to 39 and reflecting an upward trend for young people to look for entertainment in neighbouring cities.

The trend may have to do with more choices, lower prices and better facilities. It is understood that some of these travellers may undertake sexual activities across the border. In the absence of safer sex, the risk of contracting HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases will increase.

Since 2006, the Foundation has been implementing a project titled “Set Out Happy, Go Home Healthy” on HIV prevention in a few nearby cities through working closely with counterparts like NGOs and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. There are outreach visits and educational activities by peer educators, with the distribution of educational materials in popular hangouts frequently visited by Hong Kong cross-border travellers to promote the importance of safe sex and HIV prevention.

The Foundation urged those with history of unsafe sex to come forward for HIV antibody test. They can call the Foundation’s Helpline 2513 0513, or search “Hong Kong AIDS Foundation” through Facebook, for more information on the Foundation’s services and make appointments for anonymous HIV and syphilis testing.

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