According to statistics by the Department of Health, there were 692 cases of new infections in 2016, accumulating to a total of 8,410 cases since 1984. The Society for AIDS Care (SAC) organized the AIDS Charity Walk cum Mask Design Contest Award Ceremony on 5 Mar at the Peak. Celebrities Ms. Candice Yu, Mr. Michael Wong and his family members Ms. Janet Ma, Miss Kayla Wong and Mr. Kadin Miles Wong attended the ceremony as SAC Ambassadors. Co-chairperson of AIDS Walk, Mr. Christopher Jackson and emcee Mr. William Lam reinforced the importance of supporting people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and to achieve the goal of “Zero Infection for the Next Generation” together.
Ms. Candice Yu hoped that AIDS Walk could help to eliminate the misunderstanding and discrimination against AIDS, as well as showed care and acceptance to PLWHA. She also introduced SAC’s Mother-to-child Transmission Prevention Program which successfully eliminated HIV in 33 new infants from HIV positive mothers under care.
Mr. Michael Wong, Ms. Janet Ma, Miss Kayla Wong and Mr. Kadin Miles Wong also attended the Walk to support PLWHA. Mr. Wong appreciated SAC’s direct patient services to those in need. Ms. Ma was happy to walk with PLWHA and helped them reintegrate into the society. She also introduced the Women Hotline and Free HIV Testing Service which is operated by experienced nurse and social worker to answer women’s enquiries on HIV. It helps those women who are lack of knowledge on HIV prevention.
AIDS Walk took place at The Peak this year with the route from Harlech Road to Lugard Road. More than 500 participants wore the masks designed by students and public of the Mask Design Contest and completed the Walk. The Mask Design Contest Award Ceremony was also held at the kick-off of AIDS Walk to acknowledge the winners’ and their works. There are over 2,500 submissions from local secondary school students and public with the theme of “Say No to Discrimination!” All shortlisted and winning submissions were also on display at Peak Galleria and along the walking route to promote acceptance towards PLWHA who are fighting this severe disease alone.
Most patients under SAC’s care suffer HIV infection were unknowing of its cause at the time. Some of these cases include mother-to-child transmission, spouses infecting each other and tainted blood transfusion. These patients live under constant stress of HIV stigma and discrimination, driving them to live behind an invisible mask to protect their identities. SAC has been providing direct quality service to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and their care givers since 1994. The services are provided with the team of experienced nurses, social workers, counselors and physiotherapist to re-build the lives of PLWHA and facilitate full community integration.