Worrying figures reveal rise in gay Kiwi men infected with HIV

04 June 2015
Posted in General

Worrying figures reveal rise in gay Kiwi men infected with HIV

Health officials are concerned with news that more than 200 New Zealanders were diagnosed with HIV last year.

217 people were newly reported with HIV - higher than any year since 2008.

"This is the third year in a row that the number of gay and bisexual men infected with HIV has increased which is seriously concerning," says Shaun Robinson from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

The results have been released by the AIDS Epidemiology Group, based at the University of Otago.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) were the largest group affected. Of the 217, 63% were MSM.

21% were heterosexually infected. Only two were infected through drug use, and no children were infected through childbirth.

"Of concern is the increase in MSM diagnosed who were infected in New Zealand which rose form 69 in 2013 to 86 in 2014" says Associate Professor Dickson the Director of the AIDS Epidemiology Group.

The AIDS Foundation says it's concerned the message of condom use isn't getting through. It's estimated 20% of gay men are not condom users.

The government invests $4.2 million per annum to the prevention of HIV.

"NZAF is very focused on the 2014 epidemiology results. We are determined to improve on New Zealand's good record in HIV prevention and not to let it go backwards," says Mr Robinson.

The Foundation says it'll aim to promote rapid response HIV testing more extensively, as well as more sophisticated advocacy around condom use.

"2014's results need to be seen in this overall context, but it is essential that we take the rising number of infections seriously."

Source: TVNZ