The latest figures by the AIDS Epidemiology Group show that in 2014, 217 people were
newly reported with HIV in New Zealand. When comparing the number with preceding
years, this is higher than any year since 2008.
The government invests $4.2 million per annum and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation
provides an integrated package of HIV prevention activity focused on promoting condom
use, HIV testing and treatment.
HIV prevention has been very successful in New Zealand. “2014s results need to
be seen in this overall context, but it is essential that we take the rising number
of infections seriously” said Mr. Robinson.
The increase in new infections in 2014 is likely the result of a range of factors:
• Some people are simply not responding to the condom use messages. Sadly this has led to new infections of HIV which remains an incurable disease.
• HIV testing numbers across New Zealand have been increasing and have nearly doubled in 10 years. This is likely to be diagnosing some of the people who have HIV but do not know it.
• New migrant populations are coming to New Zealand in increasing numbers and many have different levels of understanding of sexuality and HIV/AIDS.
• If diagnosed early people with HIV now live a full life span, thanks to modern treatment. This is a major improvement on the situation in the 1980s and 1990s. It also means that there is pressure on the prevention of HIV as there are more people each year that can potentially pass on the virus to someone else.
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) will be ramping up prevention efforts in the following ways:
• The promotion of condoms
• HIV testing is being promoted more extensively in a wide variety of settings so as
to reduce the rate of undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV. Reducing stigma
associated with HIV which will encourage testing.
• Early access to HIV treatment is being advocated for people with the virus so as to
capture the benefits of their reduced infectivity as well as the health benefits for
• NZAF is stepping up its work with specific cultural communities to gain their
support and understanding in combating HIV.
• PrEP, the use of HIV medications by people who do not have the virus, is being
explored for people who are at high risk of infection and who resist condoms use.
You can read the full report here:
AIDS – New Zealand Issue 74 June 2015