Safe sex reminder to youth

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jul 14, 2015 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Health yesterday urged young people to avoid engaging in unprotected sex after it reported a nearly fourfold increase in the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases over the summer vacation period.

“Of the 4,239 Taiwanese infected with HIV/AIDS in the city, 159 were diagnosed with the disease between January and May this year,” Division for Disease Control and Prevention Director Chen Shao-ching (陳少卿) told a news conference.

Chen said the majority, or 45.91 percent, of new cases involved people aged between 25 and 34, followed by those in the 15 to 24 age group at 22.01 percent.

A further analysis of the statistics found that the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases between the months of June and September over the past decade were about 3.94 times those recorded in other periods of the year, Chen said.

“The data suggest that a large number of young people let momentary pleasures become their life-long regrets during summer vacations,” he said.

Wong Wing-wai (王永衛), a doctor at Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, said HIV/AIDS is primarily transmitted by unprotected sex, but direct blood contact and mother-to-child transmission are also causes.

“The only way to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS is to practice safe sex and put on a condom throughout the entire sexual experience,” Wong said.

Wong cited the case of a male high-school student who had unprotected sex with a friend he met two years ago.

“He did not expect any repercussions; he was recently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS after experiencing a fever and joint pains of unknown origin,” he said.

The department urged people who have had unprotected sex to undergo a medical evaluation for pre-exposure prophylaxis for potential non-occupational exposure to HIV/AIDS at seven designated hospitals in the city within 48 to 72 hours after intercourse.

“People are advised to be screened for diseases 1.5, three and six months after having sex,” the department said.