Hong Kong AIDS Foundation (the Foundation) issues an official statement today responding to a scientist’s recent claim that he helped create the world’s first genetically edited babies. The twin girls, born a few weeks ago in China, had their DNA altered as embryos to protect themselves from contracting HIV in the future.

We would like to share our views and suggestions here after a thorough consideration of the local situation and experiences from our frontline workers and most importantly, the best interest of people living with HIV:

  1. The science of “genetically modified people” or “genetically modified human embryos” is totally against our universal shared values;
  2. It raises safety, social and ethical concerns;
  3. HIV/AIDS is not doomsday; nowadays, it is classed as a chronic disease (though still incurable unfortunately);
  4. Highly active antiretroviral therapy is the key to dealing with the HIV virus and each patient’s high adherence to treatment is needed to suppress the viral load (i.e. maintain undetectable levels);
  5. With good drug compliance , patients should be able to achieve the level of “Undetectable = Untransmittable” which is co-endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., the British HIV Association, the World Health Organization and the European AIDS Clinical Society.’;
  6. PLHIV (people living with HIV) should be able to conceive babies with tailor-made treatment arranged by doctors and for PLHIV fathers, sperm washing would also be an option;
  7. The safest measures to prevent you from contracting HIV as of today are still through a) consistent use of condoms and b) regular HIV testing.

All in all, we will not accept any extreme measures to deal with HIV/AIDS.

As the key overseer of the AIDS situation in Hong Kong, we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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