New HIV cases on downward trend
The New Zealand Aids Foundation is touting the success of its condom promotion campaign after the release of the latest statistics on HIV diagnoses.
The foundation’s Get It On campaign was launched in 2010 and since then the number of new HIV cases in New Zealand has dropped overall by 20 per cent.
This is despite a slight rise of HIV diagnoses in 2012.
The new figures come from the University of Otago’s Aids Epidemiology Group which has been responsible for surveillance of Aids and HIV infection in the country since 1989.
The group states that while ‘‘the total number of diagnoses in 2012 was slightly higher than in 2011, it was lower than in every year in the period 2003-2010’’.
Aids foundation executive director Shaun Robinson says the numbers of new hetero- sexual HIV diagnoses continues to be in strong decline as it has since around 2006.
This drop is attributed to a decreased number of HIV infected immigrants, after immigration law changes.
‘‘The big change since 2010 is a decline of around 20 per cent in the number of new diagnoses for men who have sex with men,’’ he says.
In the majority of developed countries men who have intercourse with men are those most affected by the HIV epidemic.
The foundation’s Get It On campaign has seen New Zealand employ a world-leading pro-condom campaign with impressive results.
During the three years the campaign has been in full operation the trend in new cases of HIV for men having sex with men is downwards, Mr Robinson says.
However, he says the trend does act like a bouncing ball, and every so often there are upward spikes, as in 2012.
‘‘Every year brings fresh challenges and every new diagnosis of HIV is one that was preventable by the use of condoms,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m confident that the foundation is doing the right things to reduce the spread of HIV in New Zealand.’’
Downward trend: Shaun Robinson from the New Zealand Aids Foundation is confident the organisation is doing the right thing to reduce HIV cases.