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NZAF dismisses claim it lied in HIV Review

Thu 11 Nov 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News

Absolutely Positively Positive's logo A claim by an HIV positive people's peer support group that the NZ AIDS Foundation lied in material it supplied for the just-released HIV Services review is wrong, according to the Foundation. In a briefing on the services it contributed to the ground-breaking Review by Dr David Miller, which was made public last Friday, the Foundation advised Miller that it has been supporting the Absolutely Positively Positive group. Absolutely Positively Positive has issued a heated statement saying the Foundation's claim, which it first became aware of through reading's summary of the Review, is "lies" and "completely false and misleading." Chair Ben Walter says APP has received "0, zero, nil, nul, nothing from the NZAF." Walter says APP is a completely independent organisation that receives its "minimal funding" from the Cuthbert Trust "and spends most of its time pointing out the inability of NZAF to deliver for those living with HIV. APP spends most of its time battling the NZAF... Unlike other PLHAs, APP is not under any influence by NZAF to 'do their bidding.'" Absolutely Positively Positive will make sure that the report is withdrawn by the Ministry of Health, which commissioned and published the report, "until such outrageous inaccuracies are corrected," according to Walter. NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says it is "unfortunate" that APP has taken this stance. She says that since its inception APP has received support and assistance from the Foundation. She says the NZAF continues to welcome the existence of groups providing useful services to HIV positive people. The Foundation's Positive Health manager Eamonn Smythe says he presented APP with a cheque for $1000 when it was forming and we donated computers the Foundation had recently replaced. "We also offered them use of space at our Awhina Centre, and of the staff at Awhina, and were very supportive of the formation of a local support group." Asked if he has confidence that the information provided for his report by agencies such as the NZAF is factual, Dr. Miller says he sees "no reason to doubt it." The Ministry of Health says it has not yet received any formal notification or request from Absolutely Positively Positive or its chair to remove any part of the Miller report, and is unlikely to do so even if asked. "As the data is self-reported, the Ministry will not be removing any comments made by individuals or organisations unless that information is objectionable, which it certainly isn't," a Ministry spokesperson says. "APP have a right to be dismissive of the information in the report. However, that is not a basis for having certain information removed." You can discuss this New Zealand gay community news story in the Forum    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 11th November 2010 - 9:39pm

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