HONG KONG — HIV diagnosis rates in Hong Kong have climbed over the past decade, unlike in other places in the world where there has been a consistent decline in the numbers of new HIV cases, the South China Morning Post reports.
Between 2010-2016, the annual number of new HIV diagnoses in Hong Kong increased by nearly 80 percent, to a total of 692 new cases in 2016. By contrast, between 2010 and 2017, the annual rate of new HIV diagnoses declined by 14 percent in Asia and the Pacific as a whole, the Post reports.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s annual government expenditure on HIV prevention policies has soared in an attempt to address this entrenched health scourge. By 2020, prevention costs are projected to reach a total of $400 million in Hong Kong dollars, the Post reports.
Statistics show a solid majority of HIV diagnoses in Hong Kong have been in the group of men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Tim Brown, HIV epidemiologist from the East West Centre in Hawaii, once characterized HIV in Hong Kong as an epidemic within that group, the Post reports.
Andrew Chidgey, chief executive of AIDS Concern Hong Kong, has argued that a major cause of the rapid growth in HIV-infection rates in Hong Kong is the pervasive cultural taboo against homosexuality among Hong Kong Chinese families, leading to men’s unwillingness to disclose either a gay or HIV-positive identity, the Post reports.