New MSM HIV infection rates in Hong Kong highest in 30 years

Men who have sex with men accounted for 254 new cases, nearly half of the 513 new HIV cases in 2012.

New HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men, which accounted for 254 of 513 new cases in 2012, is the highest number for any year since Hong Kong started records in 1984, according to official records released this month.

Of the 513 new cases, 254 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual exposure and 126 via heterosexual contact. There were seven cases of drug injection, one case of perinatal transmission and one case via blood/blood product transmission occurring outside Hong Kong. The routes of transmission of 124 cases had yet to be determined due to inadequate information.

Source: Hong Kong's Department of Health

In the fourth quarter of 2012, a total of 120 people tested positive for HIV, taking the cumulative total of reported HIV infections to 5,783 since 1984. The 120 cases comprised 93 males and 27 females.

Of the 120 HIV cases reported in the fourth quarter last year, 53 acquired the infection via homosexual or bisexual contact, 26 via heterosexual contact, three through drug injection and one via perinatal route. The routes of transmission of the remaining 37 cases had yet to be determined due to inadequate information.

Posters promoting condom use were first used in gay bars in 2009 then displayed in public in Beijing in 2011. The posters were created in 2009 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Chengdu Tongle Health Consulting Center, a Chengdu, Sichuan province-based NGO.
Twenty-five new cases of AIDS were reported in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing to 1,353 the total number of confirmed AIDS cases reported since 1985. Forty-four per cent of the new AIDS cases were related to homosexual or bisexual contact and another 44 per cent were attributed to heterosexual contact.

Dr Wong Ka-hing, consultant to the Department of Health's special preventive programme, was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post: "The increase of HIV transmission among men who have sex with men is a global trend."

"It has been increasing in the past decade, first in Western countries, then in Asia."

The report stated that more than 4 per cent of gay men are estimated to have contracted HIV, compared with less than 0.1 per cent in the general population.

According to a factsheet published by the Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection, the third HIV Prevalence and Risk Behavioural Survey of Men who have sex with men in Hong Kong conducted from July 2011 to February 2012 revealed a HIV prevalence of 4.08% in the venue-based survey. The first and second surveys conducted in 2006 and 2008 revealed a HIV prevalence of 4.05% and 4.31% respectively.

Alice Chan Lai-hing, chief executive of the Society for Aids Care, said in the Post report that while men who have sex with men are increasingly aware of the need to get tested for HIV, more education and resources for support services is needed.

Generally, sexually active MSM are advised to undergo regular testing for HIV every three to 12 months.


AIDS Concern's Red Ribbon Angel Campaign 2013 is marking its 11th anniversary this March. Leading bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes and lifestyle retailers are joining us again this year as Angel Outlets to help build a healthy community. Angel Outlets will help raise funds for AIDS Concern and deliver the safe sex message to the public from 1 to 31 March.

Reader's Comments

11 years ago
I have read the HK government recent power point that one of the most at risk populations is man who have sex with men (MSM). My question is, why is MSM? but not man who have sex with women (MSW)?

If the man is in monogamy relationship with his man, both of them have only sexed with each other, then MSM without condom is SAFE!

MSM and MSW will be in risk, when they have a lot of sex partners. The education should press this points, dont be promiscuous.
11 years ago
How could it be anything but increasing...barebacking is becoming more and more commonplace as is use of inhibition-reducing recreational drugs. In the first round, behavior changes arose for the simple fact that 'infection=death'. With the rise of effective antivirals, it's now 'infection=another treatable health issue'.

I came of age at time where our ignorance was great and it was easy, as a young gay man, to equate 'sex=death'. Trusting another man to be open and truthful about his status was really pretty much inconceivable. Those times are returning...but only for those that choose to care. For the rest, the good times will roll until they roll right over the edge.
11 years ago
Comment edited on 2013-03-09 12:44:24
#1, like it or not, HIV is easier to transmit via anal sex compared to vaginal sex.

Here's a quote from Ann at
Thing is, anal tissues are not as thick or robust as vaginal tissues. The walls of the vagina are very thick in comparison to the walls of the anus - an analogy of the anal canal being lined with a piece of paper and the vagina being lined with bricks would not be unfair. The reason behind this is that the vagina must be able to stretch to accommodate a baby's head, while the anus must only stretch to accommodate a large turd (MUCH smaller than a baby's head).

The difference in thickness is part of what makes anal sex more risky than vaginal sex. The thinness of the anal walls makes it more likely that damage will occur. And with damage comes ruptured blood vessels (even if only on a microscopic level in the capillaries) and a direct route for hiv to come into contact with the correct type of cells it can infect. Even topping in anal sex is a bit more risky because of the likelihood of blood being involved.

If the vagina were as delicate and easily damaged as the rectal canal, women would die in childbirth far more often than they do. Successful childbirth would be a rarity rather than the norm.
So, as always, use a condom or be prepared for lifelong medications.
11 years ago
11 years ago
Dirty HK lol
11 years ago
Infection rates are the result of social and political conditions, as far as the majority of a society ignores homosexuality and sexual education the virus will always win the game. Many gay men in Asia are still not very well informed about STDs and HIV.
Comment #7 was deleted by its author on 2013-03-11 02:58
11 years ago
hahahahahaha save and having 1 partner....i know sometime is boring but it should be like that
11 years ago
Sexual promiscuity with bareback safe sex is the reason for the escalating rate of HIV infection not because of homosexual or heterosexual activities.

Proper sexual education is needed to contain the rates.
11 years ago
I don't know why Today's whole world people fear AIDS is far more than the fear of cancer . Cancer has been kept for centuries. How many people die of cancer or other incurable disease each year More than AIDS? or just b'coz man/man I warder.
11 years ago
Allow me to comment but at the same time I am not here to offend readers posting their comments.

In any society we encourage everyone to be in a monogamous relationship. But in this generation regardless gay or straight, people do have more than 1 to many partners. Sexually active does not equate exactly to promiscuous or dirty. We cannot fall into the vicious cycle of negative moral issues like labeling and judging.

We have to continue believing in establishing and engaging an open continuing dialogue about sexual health. It's OK to talk about sex providing latest info, statistical numbers to heighten awareness and presenting pros and cons on sexual behavior and practices so one could make their own adult decision especially understanding the importance and benefits of early testing for HIV and syphilis at least twice a year. Both viruses are silent.

The key effort right now is to test and treat the majority of not knowing their HIV status. As we all know, those not knowingly infected with the virus has a high detectable viral load and transmitting the virus.

Treat and treat. Treatment is prevention. Knowing is better than not knowing.