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Sunday 11 October 2015


NZAF's first National HIV Testing Month begins

Posted in: HIV, Features
By GayNZ.com staff, with the NZAF - 1st May 2015

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s National HIV Testing Month is underway, with family and friends urged to get involved in encouraging people to get tested for HIV and STIs.

To book a free rapid HIV Test
Visit www.nzaf.org.nz or call 0800 802 437

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Gay and bisexual men remain the most at-risk group in New Zealand. The NZAF says testing can be a daunting thought for many, which is why a supportive environment is key in making a decision to test.

“We know from our 30 years of working the community that the encouragement of family, friends and whanau is critical in ensuring that people test and feel supported which can be hard if cultures are less comfortable talking about sex,” says NZAF Executive Director Shaun Robinson.

“In a New Zealand population that is changing significantly, there is a need to ensure that everyone is well informed and equipped to keep themselves healthy, including their sexual health.

“HIV and AIDS have fallen off many kiwis’ radar, but everyone has level of risk. Gay and bisexual men are still the most at-risk group but there is a trend of increased risk for many new migrant communities from Asia and Africa. Maori and Pacific people also have lower rates of HIV testing than the general population.”

Alongside consistent condom use, Robinson says HIV testing is a cornerstone of HIV prevention because individuals testing positive can be linked to treatment, which improves their wellbeing and reduces their chance of passing HIV onto others.

Testing is free and easy; a single prick is all it takes. NZAF provide a rapid testing service for HIV with results confirmed in just twenty minutes.

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The reasons gay and bi men are more likely to get HIV

As a gay or bi guy, you’re much more likely to get HIV than your average straight boy. Ever wondered why? Here’s three reasons why nearly 80 percent of HIV diagnoses in New Zealand are among gay and bi guys:

1. It’s much easier to get HIV from anal sex

It’s been scientifically proven that anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex when it comes to HIV. Eighteen times riskier to be exact – because cells in the anus are much more susceptible to HIV than cells in the vagina. Combine this with the fact that gay and bi guys have much more anal sex than the rest of the population, and you’ve got yourself a lot more risk right there.

2. Body fluids carry a lot of HIV

Unfortunately gay guys lose out again here. It turns out that both semen and rectal mucous (the lining of the ass) carry more HIV than vaginal fluid. So, while bottoms are at highest risk, it’s still high risk for tops too.

3. There’s already a lot of gay and bi guys who have HIV

Because of the first two reasons, approximately 1 in 15 gay and bi men in New Zealand already have HIV. So, when you’re hooking up with other guys, you’re more likely to meet someone who has HIV (and they may or may not know it themselves).

 

GayNZ.com staff, with the NZAF - 1st May 2015

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