New HIV cases on down­ward trend

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.’’

Photo: GRA­HAME COX

Down­ward trend: Shaun Robin­son from the New Zealand Aids Foun­da­tion is con­fi­dent the or­gan­i­sa­tion is do­ing the right thing to re­duce HIV cases.

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