Article Title:Het HIV orgy has relevance for gay community
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:23rd July 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2438
Text:News reports of a heterosexual orgy in a spa pool involving an HIV+ man and his subsequent prosecution has relevance for the gay community, says the NZ AIDS Foundation. 24-year-old Shingirayi Nyarirangwe is on trial in the Auckland District Court for having unprotected sex with four women and knowingly endangering them by not disclosing his HIV status. "Whenever there's anything in the mass media that seems to imply a blame for people who are HIV+ it has an enormous impact on the gay community, most particularly those who are HIV+," says NZAF Executive Director Rachael LeMesurier. Close to three-quarters of people living with HIV in New Zealand currently are men who have sex with men, and the AIDS Foundation says laying blame is unhelpful. "What is being missed from these news reports is that, as this was apparently consensual sex, all of the participants had equal responsibility for their protection," LeMesurier says. "In the context of consensual sexual activity, you don't catch HIV, you allow someone to give it to you, by agreeing to unsafe activity. Further, we estimate that approximately one third of people living with HIV in New Zealand don't know they have the virus, so how can they tell you?" LeMesurier believes it is unrealistic to rely on HIV+ people to automatically disclose their status before sex, saying to do so "ignores the impact of discrimination and stigma that people living with HIV face. Unless we provide a safe and supportive society for people who are living with HIV to 'come out' we cannot expect everyone to disclose their status. Fundamentally, if a condom is correctly used, HIV transmission will not occur and that's what matters'."    
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