The NZ AIDS Foundation has launched a
new website dedicated to its new Ending HIV strategy which aims to
see HIV transmission eradicated in New Zealand within eight
â€śThis campaign aims to mobilise gay and bisexual men, the group at highest risk of HIV in New Zealand, to end new HIV infections by 2025,â€ť says the organisation's Executive Director Jason Myers. He acknowledges the strategy is an ambitious goal, â€śbut I believe we are well positioned to achieve this target if we work together.â€ť
He notes that â€śNew Zealand has an enviable record of HIV prevention but recent years have seen the highest number of new diagnoses on record.â€ť In 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, a minimum of 153 gay and bisexual men were newly diagnosed HIV-positive, a slight increase on the previous year. 2016 figures are unlikely to be available for several months yet but sources have suggested to GayNZ.com Daily News they are unlikely to show a downturn.
â€śEnding HIV responds to the rising rates of HIV by empowering men with information and inspiring them to take action,â€ť Meyers says. â€śIt asks them to stay safe by using condoms and raises awareness about PrEP as an option that needs to be made available. It also puts focus on testing more often, particularly for those who havenâ€™t been playing safe, and educates about the benefits of starting treatment early for those who test positive.â€ť
The resurgence of HIV diagnoses and the campaign to head off and even halt it come as government public health funding for prevention work has been capped for several years and some core work such as attitudinal research and early access to medications as recommended by the World Health Organisation has gone unfunded.
The new Ending HIV website is HERE.