HIV: New Zealand HIV Rates Reach Record High

Photo Credits: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) reveals mounting concerns over New Zealand’s 2016 HIV rates which, according to the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago, reached record high with 244 new infected cases.

Of the 244 new diagnoses, 201 were men and 42 were female. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) were identified as the most affected at 65% or 159 gay men in total. On the other hand, there were 42 straight men and 42 women infected at 17% respectively. Other identified HIV transmission causes apart from MSM was through injection drug use. No mother to child transmissions was reported however.

New Zealand’s data for HIV rates showed an increasing trend with 139 new cases in 2011, 180 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, 217 in 2014, and 224 in 2015, Newshub reports.

NZAF says the figures were “worrying.” But that “it will be possible to stop new infections” in New Zealand through: immediate treatment, PrEP, more testing, and safe sex. Newshub added that Dr. Sue McAllisterโ€”who heads the AIDS Epidemiology Groupโ€”also reminded everyone of the prevention tools available such as “condom use, timely testing for HIV after potential exposure, early access to HIV treatment, and screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections.”

In 2016, the New Zealand government cut funding for HIV research. NZAF says that, “by cutting funding to important research, the Government is jeopardising the health of hundreds of New Zealanders.” You may sign their petition to renew research funding here.

NZAF said that to date, there are around 3200 people living with HIV in New Zealand.

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