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Financial and social burdens of HIV feared

Wed 31 Mar 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Gay and bi men need to further strengthen their condom culture in the face of a continuing high level of HIV infection diagnoses, says the NZ AIDS Foundation, which is concerned about the financial and social costs resulting from increasing numbers of people living with HIV. NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier Official figures for 2009, released on Friday, show 73 new diagnoses of HIV in New Zealand last year amongst gay and bisexual men, compared with a record high of 93 in 2008. "While we’re relieved that there were less people diagnosed than in 2008... we are still experiencing an HIV epidemic that disproportionately affects New Zealand’s gay and bisexual men,” says the NZAF's Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. “The strengthening of the condom culture that gay and bisexual men have in New Zealand would stop this epidemic," Le Mesurier says. "Gay and bisexual men can control the spread of HIV by using condoms and lube every time for anal sex.” She says prevention and testing programmes remain essential tools in fighting the spread of HIV. Le Mesurier says the cost to the country of 73 new men who will all need to begin antiretroviral treatment at some point is very high. "The cost in lost productivity from people who are unwell is also great but the true price is the social cost of HIV, in lives cut short and lives significantly affected. That price is huge.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 31st March 2010 - 7:26pm

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