Latest NZ figures show a rise in annual HIV diagnoses | Body Positive News

Latest NZ figures show a rise in annual HIV diagnoses

2015 HIV figures for NZ
The latest figures for HIV in NZ shows the highest number of diagnoses for Gay and Bi-men since the HIV epidemic began. There has been a consistent increase over the past 3 years. In addition there is a marked increase in the number of recent local infections over previous years which may indicate an increase in recent transmission. While this shows that people are testing earlier and are taking control of their health it raises concerns over the increasing number of people now living with HIV. With more people being diagnosed with HIV and people now living longer through improved clinical care we now have 2900 people living with HIV in NZ at the end of 2014.

This will place a greater burden on the limited support services available and also an increased burden on the clinical care and medications that they will need to access. It is important for people to know their status as it reduces ongoing transmissions but it is equally important for them to have the ongoing support that they need once diagnosed. We provide direct support to assist people living with HIV with the social determinants of health such as housing, addiction and mental health. In addition we run a support group for those newly diagnosed. Unfortunately lack of funding limits our ability to meet the demand and recent cuts to the Auckland Sexual Health Service will likely have an impact on those seeking care for HIV and STI's.

We will increase our education efforts around HIV and are introducing a new monthly education series for those living with HIV which will be available online. Body Positive will continue to provide the much needed support for those living with HIV and will continue its fight against the stigmatization of people living with HIV.

By Mark Fisher