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July date to decide Burnett Centre

Mon 25 Jun 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

NZ AIDS Foundation management has confirmed it is considering closing their Burnett Centre HIV-testing and counselling site, situated just a block from K' Road – the heart of Auckland's gay community. The NZAF's Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier tells that as more and more people are becoming HIV positive, the services the Burnett Centre provides need to grow – “and that is just impossible where they are. “Any consideration of a move of Burnett will be taken very thoughtfully and with due consideration for the needs of those who are based nearby and use it a lot, but also those who advise they don't use it because of where it is currently sited. “We need to make sure we can both grow and be in a place that meets a cross section of people's needs,” she says. The NZAF spends over $165,000 per annum on leasing rental properties for their national office/Northern HIV prevention teams and Burnett centre. “As part of an investigation into our options with recognition that the national office lease expires at the end of December 2007, we have been looking at what our options are in the city,” Le Mesurier continues. “Unexpectedly, the Landlord suggested we consider either purchasing or leasing the whole building – we only currently lease one floor and a third of the top floor. To lease or purchase the whole building would mean extra space but also extra costs for NZAF in Auckland.” The NZAF Trust Board will considering all options with respect to their duty to look after NZAF's current services but also its long term sustainability, current levels of dependency on the government, ongoing outgoings for rent and security of a GBLIT centred premises for the community, the Executive Director makes clear. “Their meeting is on the 21st July, and the outcome will be reported to all interested as soon as is possible, subject to the negotiations, if any, with the landlord.” Bruce Kilmister of HIV+ advocate group ‘Body Positive', situated next door to the Burnett Centre on Pitt Street, voiced his concerns last week that the Burnett's possible move could adversely affect existing and well-used services. Le Mesurier's response reassures: “The NZAF staff are thoughtful and community committed people, and I know it is highly likely that any move away from Pitt Street will be countered in a different way to stay close to the K' Road community.” Providing extra services at Body Positive, or offering evening Rapid HIV testing are two possibilities if the move does happen, she suggests.       Ref: NZAF, (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 25th June 2007 - 10:18am

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