POZlife

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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.

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