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73 in HK Get HIV Infection in Q3

The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health of the Hong Kong government announced Tuesday that 73 people tested positive for the HIV antibody in the third quarter of 2004, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 2,457.

Fourteen new AIDS cases were reported in the same quarter. This brings to 703 the total number of confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985, the center said.

Speaking at a press conference, the Consultant (Special Preventive Program), Dr SS Lee said HIV was spread through sexual contact (homosexual or heterosexual), needle-sharing among drug users and from infected mothers to their babies.

"The predominant route of HIV transmission in this quarter remains to be sexual contact. The 73 cases comprised 52 males and 21 females," Dr Lee said.

"Twenty-five of these cases acquired the infection via heterosexual contact, 16 via homosexual or bisexual contact and six through intravenous drug use."

"The routes of transmission of the remaining 26 cases were undetermined due to inadequate data."

In this quarter, the most commonly presenting AIDS defining illness was pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, closely followed by mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.

"Of the 2,457 cumulative total of HIV infections since 1984, around 79 percent have acquired the infection through sexual contact. Of those, 70 percent resulted from heterosexual transmission. The increasing number of HIV infection in drug users is a cause for concern," Dr Lee said.

"Of the newly reported cases of HIV infection in this quarter, 47 (64.4 percent) patients have received care at the HIV specialist services of the Department of Health or the Hospital Authority. Seventy-four percent of the reported cases in 2003 received these services where effective antiretroviral treatment was offered according to clinical indication." Dr Lee said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2004)

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