An HIV awareness campaign will be launched on November 1 ahead of World AIDS Day. The campaign is a joint initiative from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, Positive Women Inc and Body Positive. Last year, new HIV diagnoses were at their highest level since 2008, a worrying trend that calls for efforts in preventing HIV and building resilient communities to be amplified. “In New Zealand, we have been able to do better than most countries in keeping HIV at very low numbers. But it is not good enough,” says Shaun Robinson, Executive Director of NZAF. “We can reverse the trend of rising numbers of new infections. We’re embracing the prevention tools offered by new scientific evidence as a part of our prevention strategy. When we combine that with continued condom use and increasing participation from our communities, I am confident that we will be able to get the number of new infections down.” World AIDS Day is on 1 December and New Zealand will emphasise the global theme - Getting to Zero: Zero AIDS Deaths, Zero HIV Infections and Zero Discrimination against people living with HIV. The awareness campaign will feature a screening of stories of people living with HIV from the ‘More than HIV’ series produced in association with Positive Women Inc. “Putting a human face to HIV is one of the most powerful tools to help reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination,” says Jane Bruning, National Coordinator, Positive Women Inc. Charlie Tredway, who participated in the video series as a part of a resource to reduce HIV related stigma, will share his story. Guest speakers on the opening night include Dr. Peter Saxton, Director of the Gay Men's Sexual Health (GMSH) research group. This is followed by a screening of the critically acclaimed movie Philomena in Auckland. The campaign launch and World AIDS Day are also an occasion for people to fundraise and donate, helping to support people living with HIV. “This is an opportunity for Kiwis to participate by volunteering a few hours on 27 November as World AIDS Day street campaigners in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. This is a powerful way to show solidarity and give visibility to HIV as an issue that affects us all,” says Mark Fisher, CEO, Body Positive.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Friday, 23rd October 2015 - 1:55pm
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