POZlife

POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

Archive for September, 2007

HIV rates rise in gay New Yorkers under 30

Posted by pozlife on September 30, 2007

published Wednesday, September 12, 2007
HIV infection rates among New York City gay men under 30 years of age rose during the last six years, health authorities reported.

The majority of the new cases occurred among gay African-Americans and Latinos. Among gay men under 20 years of age, more than 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV belonged to one of those two ethnic groups, the report read.

According to a study by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, new diagnoses of HIV among gays in New York City increased by 33 percent during the last six years, from 374 in 2001 to 499 in 2006.

Gays between 13 and 19 years of age registered a high increase in HIV infection rates — from 41 new cases six years ago to 87 in 2006.

Every borough in the city except Staten Island witnessed an increase in infection rates.

The Department of Health report did not offer possible explanations as to why rates of infection have risen among gay men under 30, and adolescents between 13 and 19 in particular.

Dr. Donna Futterman, director of the youth AIDS program at Children’s Hospital of Montefiore, said teenagers in minority groups may feel more pressure to hide their sexual orientation.

"The pressure to hide their identity puts them in riskier situations than if they could openly date and express their wishes and expectations," Futterman said.

Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden urged young people to reduce their number of sexual partners, and use condoms more consistently.

Frieden pointed out that the current generation of young people is growing up without having seen friends die of AIDS, which could be giving them the false impression "that HIV is not such a terrible disease." (AP)

Advertisements

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

South Africa’s early-warning “Mr. AIDS” dies

Posted by pozlife on September 30, 2007

published Friday, September 14, 2007
Dr. Reuben Sher, a South African immunologist whose 1983 warnings about a disease to be called AIDS were largely ignored both by the apartheid government and its successor, died Monday of surgical complications, the Cape Times reported.

Sher, then of the South African Institute for Medical Research, began his crusade after an illuminating trip to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in late 1982.

"Everyone knew there was ’something’ but no one knew what it was," said Dr. Dennis Sifris, a Johannesburg physician with a large gay practice whom Sher soon called for advice.

"About 200 patients agreed to come in and be tested," the Times quoted Sifris as saying. "Because there was no antibody test, we kept the blood samples locked up in a freezer."

When testing became available two years later, the pair found that nearly 12 percent of the men tested in 1983 were already HIV-positive.

Johannesburg General Hospital allowed the two in 1986 to start an AIDS clinic one day a week.

"I was looking for something to specialize in, and here was this new disease that involved a virus and immunity, both of my interests," Sher told Cape Town’s Health-e news service in 2004.

He soon found, though, that funding — and compassion — would be limited.

When AZT became accepted as an HIV treatment in 1987, Johannesburg health officials gave it to "blameless hemophiliacs but not to people (who) acquired HIV sexually, the implication being that it was their fault that they were infected," Sher told Health-e.

Also in 1987, Sher conducted the first AIDS study in a black population — migrant mine workers from Malawi. Nearly 4 percent of them were HIV-positive, he found.

Rather than treat the men, or grappling with the fact that they might have picked up HIV locally, the Chamber of Mines simply stopped recruiting workers from Malawi.

"First AIDS was seen as a gay disease, then a black disease," Sher said in 2004. "One got the feeling that the (apartheid) government didn’t really go out of their way."

Today, more than 5.5 million South Africans are HIV-positive — roughly 19 percent of the adult population. About 1,500 South Africans contract HIV every day, the Human Sciences Research Council reported in 2005. Every day, nearly 1,000 others die of AIDS.

Only 20 percent of those millions receive antiretroviral therapy. A five-year plan to boost that number to 80 percent is jeopardized by politics and lack of funding.

Sher retired after the fall of apartheid in 1994 — he later complained that white AIDS doctors were "shunned" by the new government — but continued to see AIDS patients in his private practice in Johannesburg.

Dr. Francois Venter, president of the HIV Clinicians Society, called him "a man who warned us all that HIV would decimate the country, was ignored, and was tragically proved right." (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

— Photo courtesy The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

How (and why) to be out to your doctor

Posted by pozlife on September 30, 2007

gaydoc2

If you live in a large, gay-friendly city like San Francisco or New York, you’re likely to run into — and be out to — "family" wherever you go, including doctors, dentists and health care providers.

But in the rest of the world — from suburbs to small towns, from people working in unfriendly jobs to people living in oppressive countries — gay men and women around the world don’t reveal their sexual orientation to their doctors. A 2006 AOL poll puts the number at a whopping 47 percent.

Many gay people, especially those in smaller, less accepting cities, worry that coming out will subject them to discrimination or inadequate care by doctors who are either homophobic or inexperienced in treating the unique health concerns of the gay community.

Other reasons gay men and women avoid doctors like the plague are:

  • The fear of talking about sex prevents many from being candid.
  • Lack of health insurance — many gay people are self-employed and can’t find affordable health care.
  • Real or perceived homophobia among doctors.
  • Worry that doctor-patient confidentiality will be breached.
  • Fear of hearing the truth about their medical conditions.

Past negative medical experiences keep many LGBT people from seeing a doctor until something is obviously wrong. By then, cancer or other illnesses that could have been detected and treated earlier instead get diagnosed in their later stages, greatly reducing the chances of survival.

So by staying in the medical closet, many gay men and women put themselves at even greater health risk — including missed opportunities for early disease detection or misdiagnosis by doctors who don’t have the lowdown on a patient’s orientation. If doctors are to fully treat your health needs, they’ll need to know your lifestyle, warts and all.

Being gay can open doors to a host of health concerns beyond AIDS, HIV, STDs and the depression and suicide that often go along with those conditions. According to the American Cancer Society, gay men are at higher risk of contracting prostate, skin and colon cancer.

A chief killer in the LGBT community is lung cancer. A recent study shows that 36 percent of gay men and women smoke, as opposed to 25 percent of all adults. 30,000 gay men and women die from lung cancer each year, according to the ACS.

With the landscape littered with all of these potential health landmines, it’s easy to see the importance of getting yourself to the doctor’s office regularly, and of full disclosure once you’re there. But there are ways to keep the doctor experience from being so fearful.

The easiest solution is to find a gay or gay-friendly doctor. This is easier in bigger cities, where the majority of doctors practicing in or near large gay neighborhoods (such as West Hollywood or the Castro in San Francisco) will not only be gay-friendly, but also well-versed in treating the myriad of gay health issues.

In smaller, more rural settings, gay medical practitioners are often harder to find. Your best resource here will be a referral — from friends, your local LBGT center or local gay publications. You can also turn to a number of online databases as well, notably the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Web site (www.glma.org).

There may still be times where you have to fly blind without knowing a doctor’s take on gay patients. Your first step is to call a doctor’s office and simply ask if the practice has any LGBT patients. Since you don’t have to give your name, there’s little risk involved.

Upon visiting a practice for the first time, look for visual clues that may reveal where a doctor stands on LGBT patients. Do the magazines skew in a more heterosexual direction? Are there any other gay men or women in the waiting room?

The new-patient form you fill out can also offer clues. Many forms assume that a new patient is heterosexual, and often exclude any gay-related information — questions about birth control can be offensive to lesbians, for example. A positive sign will be questions asking specifically about domestic partnership information or gay health matters. Avoid writing in your orientation on the form, as that information is best disclosed in a one-on-one interview with the physician.

The new doctor/patient relationship can be uncomfortable to begin with, particularly when the subject turns to sex talk. Again, you may have to rely on clues from the physician before deciding if you feel comfortable coming out. Bring it up when you are still fully clothed, thereby avoiding the subtle "you’re naked and I’m not" power imbalance that can happen between doctor and patient. If a doctor seems uncomfortable after you disclose your orientation, find another doctor.

The goal is to find a health care provider who you can communicate with and feel comfortable around. Gay men and lesbians who can talk openly about their sexuality are more likely to receive accurate and timely diagnosis. Fortunately, increased sensitivity training in medical schools and the public’s changing attitudes are making it easier for gay people to slowly step out of the health care closet.

Editor’s note: Are you a gay doctor practicing outside a gay-friendly metropolis? Or do you have a recommendation of a gay-friendly doctor to make? Are you looking for one? Post your info in the Gay.com discussion of this article (no negative reviews, please). Also, take a look at Local Scene to search for listings near you.

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

Failed HIV vaccine study disappoints local participants

Posted by pozlife on September 28, 2007

By DYANA BAGBY

When news came last week that the HIV vaccine trial by Merck & Co. was discontinued because studies showed the vaccine was ineffective, volunteer participant Scott Smith of southwest Atlanta acknowledged disappointment.

“I was bummed. But I knew what the chances were,” he said.

Smith, 39, a volunteer for the vaccine research for just over two years at the Hope Clinic, a subsidiary of Emory University, also said he knew there was a chance the vaccine would fail.

“I wasn’t hysterical because I know there are other vaccines being tested.”

Smith will continue going to his scheduled appointments for however long researchers want to follow participants to find other useful information in the failed trial.

“Every test helps us get closer to a vaccine,” he said.

Smith was one of approximately 130 people taking part in the high-profile HIV vaccine research study at the Hope Clinic.

Globally, some 3,000 volunteers participated in the vaccine research, all of whom were HIV negative when the Phase II clinical trial began. Most volunteers, including those at the Hope Clinic, were gay men because they are at a higher risk of contracting HIV, said Dr. Mark Mulligan, executive director of the Hope Clinic.

The vaccine trial, called STEP and funded by the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was stopped Sept. 21 after the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board reviewed safety data and and determined the vaccine “did not prevent infection.”

Merck’s was the first major test of a new strategy in HIV vaccine research. The first wave of attempts to develop a vaccine tried to stimulate antibodies against the virus, but that hasn’t worked so far.

The new effort — an approach that is being tried in most other current research — is aimed at making the body produce more of a crucial immune cell called killer T cells. The goal is to simultaneously “train” those cells, like an army, to quickly recognize and destroy the AIDS virus when it enters cells in the bloodstream.

In volunteers who received at least one dose of the three-dose Merck vaccine series, 24 cases of HIV infection were observed in the 741 volunteers who received the vaccine and 21 cases of HIV infection were observed in the 762 participants in the placebo group.

The vaccine also did not reduce the amount of virus in the bloodstream of those who became infected, Merck officials stated.

While not giving an exact number, Dr. Carlos del Rio, who is in charge of the STEP study at the Hope Clinic, said some local volunteers became infected with HIV.

All volunteers were repeatedly counseled about how to reduce their risk of HIV infections, including use of condoms, according to Merck.

Mulligan of the Hope Clinic said he was deeply disappointed in the news but added that vaccine research takes many, many years.

“While disappointment was my main reaction, the next step is, OK, this is science and we’ve gotten a clear and strong answer what direction not to take,” Mulligan added. “We knew it might work, that it might not work. And we learn from that experience, so in that sense, it has been successful. Now we can throw our energy and efforts into other candidate vaccines.”

The STEP study, considered “the lead horse” of HIV vaccine research, “has dropped out of the race,” Mulligan said. “And now the others become more important. The importance of these additional candidates are amplified by this result.”

Del Rio remains optimistic and said the Hope Clinic will participate in future HIV vaccine studies, one set to begin this fall.

Named PAVE 100, this HIV vaccine study will also draw on ways to make “killer T cells,” but will utilize DNA.

“This is not the end,” del Rio said.
Buzzwords:

Posted in POZ World View | 1 Comment »

HIV: What I Wish I Had Known

Posted by pozlife on September 19, 2007

091807h

An insider’s view
by Chris Sullivan

Another week, another new story about rising HIV rates in some part of the country. After millions of dollars and literally decades of safe-sex education, something is clearly not working. Are the messages unclear or are they falling on deaf ears?

Having tested HIV positive myself back in 2001, I’ve often wondered if there was anything that I could have known back then that might have made a difference in preventing my own diagnosis. Of course, I’ll never know. But after having lived on both sides of the HIV fence now I’ve certainly learned a few things:

1) Diseases have no morality.They are equal opportunity killers. Interjecting morality into sound scientific and medical advice not only convolutes the issues at hand unnecessarily, it is actually counter-productive, making a difficult situation only that much harder to deal with effectively.

2) Accepting ultimate responsibility for your own behavior keeps you in charge. When it comes to HIV, you only need to contract it once. So even one poor decision can make all the difference. You can stay HIV negative but you need to make that choice every single time you have sex.

3)Being honest about your own sexual behaviors and appetites is empowering. Are you drawn to sexual activities that have a higher rate of potential HIV infection? Are you sexually compulsive? While there’s nothing wrong with a healthy sexual appetite, good decision-making shouldn’t be compromised in the process.

4) Sex isn’t just physical; it’s emotional, too. It can bring to the surface all sorts of psychological stresses. For example, issues surrounding body image can play into deeper issues regarding self-esteem. Sometimes even the most pragmatic and responsible of people can be undone by their own insecurities and make poor decisions. It takes a very strong person to remain psychologically resolute when they are feeling most vulnerable emotionally.

5) The effects of alcohol or drug use on a person’s ability to make good decisions can’t be emphasized enough. A “high” feeling, by its very nature, is detached on some level and not at all grounded. If your mind is wandering off in a multitude of different directions and your immediate focus varies from moment to moment, just gathering the clarity and decisiveness to make sure you still practice safe-sex can be daunting.

6) When it comes to HIV/AIDS, information is power, but ignorance is not bliss. Getting tested (preferably twice over a six month period) and knowing your status is your best starting point. This puts you in your strongest possible position to make well-informed decisions about your health and your sexual practices going forward.

7) Be prepared. Some people don’t use condoms because they feel it diminishes the pleasure of anal sex – but not all brands of condoms and lube are created equal. Some brands provide greater safe-sex enjoyment than others. Such sites as condomdepot.com can help you choose products that best suit your safety and pleasure needs.

8) Be aware. You are your own best protector. Outside of medical concerns, the greatest burden HIV-positive men have to deal with is disclosure of their status and their approaches to that can be quite varied.

• Some men reveal their HIV status to all of their sex partners.

• Some men are selective with whom and under what circumstances they reveal this information.

• Some men feel that by only engaging in oral sex or by always using condoms during anal sex, they have done as much to safeguard your sexual health as can be expected. The rest is up to you.

• Some men feel that if they have sex in an establishment designed for casual sex, that their partner is fully aware of the potential risks for any kind of STD and as a mature adult, is choosing to take those risks. They feel no responsibility for your sexual decisions.

I think the best piece of advice I ever got was from a dear friend of mine who has been living in New York City since the 1970s and who continues to have an active and HIV-negative sex life. His words are simple but can save lives:

“I just assume everyone is positive and proceed accordingly.”

43 Things Tags:

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

HIV rates rise in gay New Yorkers under 30

Posted by pozlife on September 15, 2007

<!–

–>

published Wednesday, September 12, 2007
HIV infection rates among New York City gay men under 30 years of age rose during the last six years, health authorities reported.

The majority of the new cases occurred among gay African-Americans and Latinos. Among gay men under 20 years of age, more than 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV belonged to one of those two ethnic groups, the report read.

According to a study by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, new diagnoses of HIV among gays in New York City increased by 33 percent during the last six years, from 374 in 2001 to 499 in 2006.

Gays between 13 and 19 years of age registered a high increase in HIV infection rates — from 41 new cases six years ago to 87 in 2006.

Every borough in the city except Staten Island witnessed an increase in infection rates.

The Department of Health report did not offer possible explanations as to why rates of infection have risen among gay men under 30, and adolescents between 13 and 19 in particular.

Dr. Donna Futterman, director of the youth AIDS program at Children’s Hospital of Montefiore, said teenagers in minority groups may feel more pressure to hide their sexual orientation.

“The pressure to hide their identity puts them in riskier situations than if they could openly date and express their wishes and expectations,” Futterman said.

Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden urged young people to reduce their number of sexual partners, and use condoms more consistently.

Frieden pointed out that the current generation of young people is growing up without having seen friends die of AIDS, which could be giving them the false impression “that HIV is not such a terrible disease.” (AP)

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

New HIV Cases Rising Among Young NYC Men Who Have Sex With Men

Posted by pozlife on September 12, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 11, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET

(New York City) HIV infection is on the rise among young men who have sex with men in New York City, particularly among young blacks and Hispanics, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the NYC Health Department.

New HIV diagnoses among MSM under age 30 have increased by 33 percent during the past six years, the agency reported today, from 374 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2006.

New diagnoses have doubled among MSM ages 13 to19, while declining by 22 percent among older MSM.

The under-30 group now accounts for 44% of all new diagnoses among MSM in New York City, up from 31% in 2001.

“We are very concerned about the increase in HIV among young men who have sex with men,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City.

“We’re headed in the wrong direction. Unless young men reduce the number of partners they have, and protect themselves and their partners by using condoms more consistently, we will face another wave of suffering and death from HIV and AIDS.”

Blacks and Hispanics still bear a disproportionate share of New York City’s HIV burden the Health Department said.

Among all MSM, blacks received twice as many HIV diagnoses as whites in 2006 – 232 versus 101; and Hispanics received 55% more than whites – 157 versus 101.

The disparity is even more striking among adolescents; more than 90% of the MSM under age 20 diagnosed with HIV in 2006 were black or Hispanic – 81 out of 87.

“These numbers are devastating. After 26 years of AIDS, we cannot drift backward,” said Debra Frasier-Howe, president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

“We must ask all New Yorkers to accept some responsibility for helping our young people protect themselves. Their lives are not dispensable.”

Tokes Osubu, executive director of Gay Men of African Descent said that reversing the trend “will require a new commitment to protecting this most underserved population.”

“We need an integrated approach across city agencies, social justice organizations and AIDS organizations, and a less judgmental approach by faith institutions,” said Osubu.

Every borough except Staten Island has seen HIV increase among MSM under 30 since 2001.

The largest increases occurred in Queens – 49 percent; and Manhattan – 57 percent. The increase in Manhattan was concentrated in East and Central Harlem, and in the Chelsea and Clinton areas.

The Department is working with community groups, medical providers, and others to promote risk reduction through reducing the number of partners and increasing the use of condoms.

The Department also distributes more than 3 million free condoms each month. The distinctive NYC Condom is available not only through Health Department clinics and community organizations but through retail establishments and entertainment venues, including bars, clubs and restaurants.

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

Fake AIDS Drugs Flood Zimbabwe

Posted by pozlife on September 12, 2007

by The Associated Press

Posted: September 11, 2007 – 6:30 am ET

(Harare) AIDS drugs – some of them contaminated, diluted or faked – are being sold at flea markets and hairdressing salons in the face of growing shortages in clinics linked to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, the health ministry said Monday.

State media quoted Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa appealing to people living with HIV/AIDS to buy their medicines from registered pharmacies, clinics and hospitals only.

“These fake drugs increase chances of one becoming resistant to treatment and it becomes even more expensive for that person to remain on treatment,” he was quoted as saying by the official Herald newspaper, which said that the “prohibitive” cost of antiretroviral drugs at private pharmacies had fueled the illegal market.

State radio said that the illegal medications were either adulterated with other substances or useless fakes.

About 50,000 HIV-infected patients are receiving free medication from government hospitals in a nation where an estimated 3,000 people die a week from AIDS-related conditions. The Herald said 300,000 more are in urgent need of treatment.

Local manufacturers of HIV/AIDS drugs have failed to obtain enough imported raw materials, which must be paid for in scarce hard currency. Imported drugs cost up to double the local makes.

Pharmacies say many medicines have been scarce since a government edict in June to slash prices of all goods and services by about half.

The price cuts were ordered in an effort to tame the world’s highest official inflation of 7,634 percent. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund forecasts it reaching 100,000 percent by the end of the year.

Critics blame the meltdown on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s program of seizing white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to blacks, which began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based economy.

Mugabe has blamed Western sanctions for the economic problems crippling his country, a former breadbasket in the region.

Most basic foods have disappeared from the shelves since the government’s prices edict June 26. The corn meal staple, meat, bread, milk, sugar, eggs and even soap and tea fetch 10 times the government’s fixed price if found on the illegal black market.

Bread shortages worsened Monday across the country after the two main bakery chains said they were down to their last emergency reserves of flour. One main Harare baking factory sent home hundreds of workers on indefinite leave on Friday.

The government has raised its price freeze across the board upward by 20 percent, but businesses say they are still being told to sell goods at below production costs.

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »

Jenna Bush Pens Book On HIV

Posted by pozlife on September 12, 2007


by The Associated Press

Posted: September 12, 2007 – 9:00 am ET

(New York City) It’s tempting to scoff at the idea of presidential party girl Jenna Bush writing a book, but her first effort is surprisingly well done.

“Ana’s Story” is a short biography of a 17-year-old single mother in Latin America infected with HIV. Bush met Ana, whose real name and hometown are concealed, while working as an intern for the United Nations Children’s Fund, better known as UNICEF.

Ana has a story worth telling.

Her life has been a struggle with poverty, abuse and prejudice. Her mother and aunt were raped by their stepfather, who infected them with HIV. Ana’s mother, father and infant sister died of AIDS before she finished sixth grade. Only her other younger sister, Isabel, escaped the disease.

Ana learns to keep her illness quiet at a young age.

“Life’s not fair,” her grandmother warns her. “If you tell, you’ll be treated badly. People will call you bad, ugly names. They will be afraid of you.”

Ana believes her grandmother after watching her friends taunt a skinny classmate.

Her home life is perhaps more painful than the disease. Both Ana and her sister are raped by their grandmother’s boyfriend. After their father dies, their grandmother beats Ana until the girls are removed from her home and shuttled among relatives and orphanages.

Bush became best known during her father’s first term in the White House for underage drinking while a student at the University of Texas. She graduated with a degree in English and taught elementary school in Washington, D.C., for a year and a half before signing on with UNICEF.

She recently made news again by announcing her engagement to Henry Hager, who gets a thank you in the book’s acknowledgments.

Perhaps because of the scrutiny Bush herself has faced, she recounts Ana’s choices without judgment. Bush describes a loving relationship between Ana and the HIV-positive teen who fathers her daughter. She portrays Ana’s decision to end that relationship as part of her evolution into an adult who must consider her daughter’s welfare.

Her boyfriend, Ana reflects, seemed more interested in her than their daughter, more interested in being a boyfriend than a father.

The most unsatisfying aspect of Bush’s work is that it ends with many loose threads: Ana has not finished school or found work; her sister is still in an orphanage; she must tell her new boyfriend about her HIV infection.

Bush addresses some of these points in an afterword but, as she notes, “Ana’s story is still being written.”

Another notable feature of the book is its easy reading level. Although “Ana’s Story” is being promoted heavily, it is not really designed for adults or advanced readers. Rather, it’s targeted to students and teachers with a study guide and several reference sections.

Bush describes her writing as a “mosaic” of Ana’s life with chapters of only a couple hundred words pieced together “to create an image of her past and a framework for her future.” It works well for youngsters, but readers used to more literary writing may find it too simple.

That may not matter, however, as Bush’s interest seems to lie with young audiences. She is already collaborating on an illustrated children’s book with her mother, first lady Laura Bush.

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

Official: Internet Fueling HIV Among Hong Kong Gays

Posted by pozlife on September 12, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 12, 2007 – 5:00 pm ET

(Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s health director says that the internet has helped fuel a spike in the number of cases of HIV among gay men in the territory.

P.Y. Lam told a meeting of the World Health Organization that gay men are more frequently using the internet to meet for casual sex and that often men who meet this way do not practice safe sex.

Lam told the WHO, at a meeting in South Korea, that the health department has identified “three clusters” of HIV over the past two years that were traced to internet cruising.

In one cluster alone, he said, more than 50 gay men had contracted HIV from one man.

“In this information age they find new ways to meet each other and have relationships sometimes on a very casual basis, while condom use is very low,” Lam later told Hong Kong radio station RTHK in a telephone interview.

He also said that the government needs to find new ways to reach out and educate gays about safe sex.

That may prove difficult. Despite some liberalizing of laws in Hong Kong most gays remain underground. Gays who are out often criticize police for harassing them.

Hong Kong has a population of 6.9 million. The government officially says there are about 400 new cases of HIV a year. More than 3,000 people have HIV with about 900 cases of full-blown Aids.

The UN and other international bodies have said they believe the official numbers do not represent the real picture.

Posted in POZ World View | Leave a Comment »