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"Every gay or bisexual man needs to get tested"

Thu 7 Jun 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

A World Health Organisation announcement that gonorrhoea is becoming drug resistant comes as a cluster of organisations are issuing warnings about an outbreak of gonorrhoea that is infecting Auckland’s gay and bisexual men. Free testing services have been increased and clinicians and lab specialists are particularly concerned that the emergent strain of gonorrhoea is nearing drug resistance. Shaun Robinson NZAF Executive Director Shaun Robinson says there has been a spike in infections in Auckland. “At this point, Auckland’s gay and bisexual men are the community that’s been hit hardest. One of the most difficult aspects of this outbreak is that many men won’t have any symptoms. This means they’re infected, sexually active, and without symptoms they don’t see any need to get tested.” A collaborative project has been set up to provide free testing. “The NZAF and Auckland Sexual Health Services have significantly increased their capacity to test men for gonorrhoea in response to this outbreak. Every gay or bisexual man needs to get tested. Gonorrhoea can infect the penis, rectum and throat – and rectal and throat infections will often be asymptomatic,” Robinson says. The strain of gonorrhoea that is affecting Auckland’s gay and bisexual men’s communities can still be treated despite the early signs of reduced susceptibility to treatment showing up in lab tests. “It takes time for an STI to become fully resistant. Right now, we can still cure gonorrhoea but to get treated, you must get tested.” Gonorrhoea is more difficult to prevent than other STIs but using condoms and lube for sex is the best way to avoid infection. A campaign promoting testing for gonorrhoea for gay and bisexual men is currently running in Auckland’s gay bars and venues. The campaign is a joint initiative on behalf of the NZAF, Auckland Sexual Health Services and Lab Plus, with support from the Ministry of Health.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 7th June 2012 - 5:24pm

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