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Survey: half of HK women have had unsafe sex
(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2004-12-01 11:00

A survey last month found that 52 per cent of Hong Kong women have had unprotected sex - despite worries over unplanned pregnancy.

The latest HIV/AIDS awareness posters line a popular street in Beijing, 22 November 2004. The number of HIV/AIDS cases in China is increasing at a rapid rate of 40 percent a year, a health ministry official was cited as saying by state media. [AFP]
Forty-eight per cent of respondents did not use contraceptives because they were not readily available. Twenty-three per cent said their sex-partners were unwilling. And 20 per cent said they forgot to take the pill.

A total of 1,761 single and married women were polled in the survey, commissioned by pharmaceutical company Janssen-Cilag and disclosed yesterday.

The survey found condoms are the most popular contraceptive - used by 67 per cent of respondents. Eighteen per cent took the pill and 6 per cent contraceptive injections.

"The majority of the respondents generally don't trust and feel dissatisfied with the use of condoms as effective contraceptives. They need to use more initiative in selecting the contraception means," said Kenneth Kong, director of Global Health Connect Medical Centre.

The survey indicated that local women were not sufficiently educated on contraception.

More than 61 per cent said they never saw a doctor on contraceptive methods, while 46 per cent attributed their contraception knowledge to media and 14 per cent to friends.

"Hong Kong women do not have sufficient knowledge on contraception," Kong said.

"That's why Hong Kong has a high abortion rate - up to 29 per cent as compared with about 10 per cent in the US and Europe".

AIDS prevention

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday warned that most of the new HIV infections are expected to occur through marital sex - usually from husband to wife.

Ahead of the World AIDS day today, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific Shigeru Omi, said infection rates have jumped 10 per cent among women in Asia in the last two years and the need to empower women is therefore urgent.

In some areas, women are getting infected at a faster rate than men, he said.

The Centre for Health Protection disclosed yesterday that 73 people have been tested HIV-positive, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections since 1984 to 2,457. Of the total HIV infections, around 79 per cent were transmitted through sexual contact and 70 per cent resulted from heterosexual transmission.

Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow appealed to the community to work together to fight AIDS.

"We may learn from news reports that some sex workers, who are not aware that they have already acquired HIV, may continue to spread the disease to others," he said.

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