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Hong Kong Experiences a 17% Spike in New HIV Cases in 2012

Update Date: Mar 06, 2013 02:07 PM EST

Hong Kong experienced a surge in the number of new HIV infections in 2012.  The city's Health Department on Wednesday announced that there has been a 17 percent rise in the number of new HIV infections last year.

Health officials said that 513 new cases of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus were reported in 2012 compared to 438 in 2011, according to Xinhua.

Officials said that the new infections were driven mainly by sexual transmission. The Center for Health Protection said that nearly half of the new cases in 2012 were infected "via homosexual or bisexual exposure". Other cases of transmission include heterosexual contact and drug injection.

"They should use a condom for safer sex to reduce the risk of contracting HIV," said Wong Ka-hing, a special preventive program consultant at the center, according to AFP.

Officials said that 254 of the 513 new cases involved transmission via homosexual or bisexual contact and 126 cases involved heterosexual contact.  Officials said there were seven cases where patients were infected via drug injection, one case of perinatal transmission and one case involving blood or blood product transmission outside Hong Kong. Due to inadequate information, officials have not been able to determine the routes of transmission for the remaining 124 cases.

According to UNAIDS, the number of HIV patients worldwide rose from 33.5 million in 2010 to 34 million in 2011. However, Asia has seen a marginal decline in the number of new HIV infections from 2001 to 2009.  According to AFP there were 4,700 new cases in 2011 compared to 4,500 new cases in 2009.

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