The New Zealand AIDS Foundation promotes National HIV Testing Month in May to encourage Kiwis to test for human immunodeficiency virus and sexually transmitted infections, and to raise awareness of risk factors.
Almost all HIV transmission in New Zealand occurs through unprotected sexual contact. Alongside consistent condom use, HIV testing is important in HIV prevention because people who test positive can access treatment which improves their wellbeing and reduces their chance of passing HIV onto others.
Kate Allen, Clinical Nurse Specialist at the MidCentral Sexual Health Service says: “There are Kiwis living with HIV that don’t know it yet. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have HIV and you can live with HIV for years without knowing about it.
“This results in many people infected with HIV reaching the healthcare system in a late stage of their infection, which can have a negative impact on their well-being and result in spreading HIV to others. Women can get HIV too. Around 20 women in New Zealand are diagnosed with HIV each year, many of these are late diagnoses.”
Take charge. Take the test. By knowing your status you can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. Testing is free and easy. Contact Sexual Health Service on 0800 808 602 for a FREE and confidential HIV test.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945