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Community forums to discuss burning issues

Wed 29 Aug 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The impact of “bareback” porn and community responses to how health professionals should act when a person with HIV is accused of deliberately infecting others will form the basis of discussions at this year's community forums for gay and bisexual men. Held by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation throughout the month in September in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, the annual forums seek to elicit community opinion and action on national issues affecting the transmission of HIV amongst gay and bisexual men in New Zealand. “One gay or bisexual man is being infected with HIV every five days,” says NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. “Of infections occurring within New Zealand, gay and bisexual men made up 80% of the diagnoses in 2006. We will only see these figures go down if gay and bisexual men work alongside NZAF to reduce incidents of anal sex without condoms.” The topics of discussion for the forums have been chosen because the popularity of “bareback” porn has been burgeoning concurrently with a resurgence in HIV rates amongst gay and bisexual men throughout the Western world, New Zealand included. “The changing acceptance amongst gay men of unsafe sex in porn is a crucial debate and suggests there is less peer pressure to use condoms for anal sex,” Le Mesurier says. Following three recent cases in Australia of HIV positive men allegedly infecting others with the virus deliberately, health professionals, support organisations and communities of gay men have been challenged over what action to take when such a scenario arises. “What to do when a ‘bad apple' damages the great record of HIV positive people is relevant to New Zealand also, and needs gay community comment,” Le Mesurier says. “Who should act, when should they act, and how are just some of the questions that need discussion.” The format of the evening forums will include an update on the latest HIV numbers, and an open Q  

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 29th August 2007 - 9:45am

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