The Hong Kong Department of Health revealed that 19 Filipinos in the city were tested positive for immunodeficiency virus (HIV) since 2013.
The number of cases among HIV-positive Filipinos, however, had been “going down or had become stable” in recent years said Johnny Li Choi Hing, Senior Programme Manager at the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation.
This contrasts with the number of cases among Indonesians.
“We find a more dangerous situation for Indonesian girls,” Li said in an interview with Hong Kong News.
Seven Filipino nationals were tested positive in 2013, five in 2014, three in 2015 and four in 2016, according to Li. However, for Indonesians, the number of those who tested positive for HIV rose from six in 2013, to 13 in 2014, 17 in 2015, and then to 20 in 2016.
It was found out that the common cause of transmission was sexual contact.
“I would say this is alarming because it was only six cases (before) becoming 20 cases in just four years. And every year, we still find a new case,” Li said.
“If we don’t take any action, this could become a serious problem,” he added.
Filipino women are generally have higher awareness of the dangers of HIV, Li said based on the experience of the Foundation.
“Some girls coming from the Philippines, they are well-educated. They know if something is dangerous..(that) if I have a relationship with someone, you have to use a condom,” he said.
“Indonesians are also younger and so they easily trust other people. So, we have to provide an education program for the Indonesian community for them to do something to protect themselves,” he added.
Li advised that Indonesian or Filipino women who have sexual relations with foreign men in Hong Kong should use protection.
“Some of our clients, they get infected in Hong Kong because they meet other guys coming from other countries. The guys would tell the girl, “Oh, we can get married and have a family and stay in Hong Kong, but then it turns out the guy is just a liar,” he said.
The Hong Kong AIDS Foundation provides counselling for those who tested positive and also refers them to government clinics so that they could get the necessary medical treatment.
For domestic workers who want to have themselves tested, the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation offers free and anonymous testing on Sundays. They can be reached at 2513-0513 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“They don’t have to show their Hong Kong ID and they can have the test results after 15 minutes,” Li said.