HONG KONG, 30 November 2020 - Established by the World Health Organization, World AIDS Day designated on 1 December every year, is dedicated to raise public awareness towards HIV/AIDS knowledge. The stigma associated with AIDS and HIV infection has long been recognized as a significant barrier in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day. Some people do this by getting HIV tested.
According to the figures in 2019, the Centre for Health Protection of Department of Health reported that HIV cumulative cases was over 10,000 (10,550 cases) in Hong Kong. And there are more than 140 new cases in each quarter in average, meaning that about 1.6 persons get diagnosed each day, in which 80% of the cases acquired the infections via sexual contact. In Hong Kong, stigma remains a significant barrier to HIV testing. If a person is suspicious of one’s own HIV infection, conventional test taking blood from vein or rapid HIV antibody test can help to do the screening. However, as there is a need for the people to go for testing in person, some people are reluctant to participate in the testing as they avoid facing the testing staff. For this reason, our Society launched a HIV self-testing program using non-invasive oral swab aims to improve the awareness of HIV testing. The advantage for it can be performed at a private place at any time.
Every year on World AIDS Day, we urge the public to talk openly about HIV, which can help normalize the subject, correct misconceptions and understand more about HIV. To echo this annual international event, we now offer a buy 1 get 1 free HIV testing kit promotion during December for HK$150, you will get 2 OraQuick® oral fluid test kits plus 10 condoms! Buy now and get tested: http://tiny.cc/SACHIVTest. Together we make a difference!
Fundraising & Communications Manager, Ms. Yan Lee
Telephone: 2559 2006 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Society for AIDS Care (SAC) has wrapped up the first ever month-long Virtual AIDS Charity Walk. During the month of October, over 600 people across Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia joined together to support people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), and to appeal for all sectors of the public to be aware that PLHIV should seek proper treatment without fear of discrimination or being turned away due to their HIV status. Together, we “Say No to Discrimination”
The annual charity walk changed from a one-day physical walk at the Peak, Hong Kong to a virtual event in order to keep participants safe while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporates, families, students and individuals who registered for the walk were invited to design and complete the route remotely and creatively in whatever ways convenient for them within the event period. The event culminated Sunday 8 November with a virtual announcement on SAC’s social media channels. The fundraising link (http://bit.ly/sparkraise-for-aidswalk-2020) is still available until 31 December 2020. All raised fund will support SAC to provide high quality direct patient care services to PLHIV.
“We are extremely grateful for all the corporate sponsors, supporting organization, individual donors, students and VIP guests that remained committed to our AIDS charity Walk after we changed the event to virtual format in response to the novel coronavirus,” said by Mr. Christopher Jackson, the Co-chairman of AIDS Walk and Board Member of SAC. “It was amazing and heart-warming to see participants staying creatively active in an effort to raise money on behalf of our organization during such a difficult time.”
“I would also like to thank the Walk sponsors and supporting organizations for their generous donations, including Gilead Science, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Baker Mackenzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JOYCE Group, Marathon Sport, Simple Approach, Sim’s Sweet, Sweaty Betty and The Upper House,” Mr. Christopher Jackson continued. “In addition, without knowing the walk date would change, for the first time we held a social event to celebrate the walk on 21 January 2020 and the event was fully sponsored by the Upper House. The pre-walk party was declared a spectacular success.”
“It has been a year full of challenges with the human tragedy of COVID-19 pandemic but this event is an opportunity to share encouragement and inspiration during such a difficult time,” stated Ms. Alice Chan, CEO of SAC. “Since the first reported case in late December last year, our team has immediately arranged support and stepped-in to provide our patient members with sufficient protection.”
According to statistics by the Department of Health, there were 141 cases of new infections in second quarter of 2020, accumulating to a total of 10,550 cases since 1984. Nearly 80% of the cases acquired the infections via sexual contact. “At SAC, we continue to provide free HIV and syphilis testing with professional counselling to women in need. If someone is suspicious of one’s own HIV infection, conventional test taking blood from vein or rapid HIV antibody test can help to do the screening. However, as there is a need for the people to go for testing in person, some people are reluctant to participate in the testing as they avoid facing the testing staff,” Ms. Alice Chan explained. “Therefore, we launched a HIV self-testing program using non-invasive oral swab aims to improve the awareness of HIV testing. The advantage for it be performed at a private place at any time. Through this program, we hope to promote the importance of early testing, early treatment.”
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 PLHIV 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 PLHIV and facilitate full community integration.