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NZ AIDS diagnoses more than double

Tue 19 Jul 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

AIDS diagnoses in the first six months of this year have more than doubled last year's figures for the same period, with anecdotal evidence indicating that more and more people are only discovering they have HIV when they become ill. A just-released report on disease incidence shows that AIDS diagnoses for the first six months this year totaled 33, compared with just 14 for the same period last year. The figures do not indicate the sexuality or any other demographic data of those newly diagnosed with AIDS. Between the mid 1980s and late 1990s HIV/AIDS-related deaths traumatised New Zealand's gay population but in recent years progression from HIV infection to having AIDS has been slowed by a range of powerful but toxic medications becoming available. The new figures "affirm our concern that up to 33% of people who are HIV positive do not know they are living with the virus," says NZ AIDS Foundation Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. "This is not only very bad for their life expectancy, it works against our efforts to control the spread of HIV. After all just assuming you are HIV negative is not the same as being certain you are because you have tested negative and had safe sex ever since." The doubling of AIDS progression diagnoses is a timely reminder that AIDS is not "yesterday's issue", Le Mesurier says.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 19th July 2005 - 12:00pm

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