Health officials are concerned at the rising number of HIV infections in New Zealand.
The AIDS Epidemiology Group, based at the University of Otago, has revealed that 217 people were newly reported with HIV last year – higher than any year since 2008.
Of the 217, 63 per cent were men who have sex with men (MSM) while 21% were heterosexually infected.
“This is the third year in a row that the number of gay and bisexual men infected with HIV has increased which is seriously concerning,” said Shaun Robinson of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF).
The AIDS Foundation says it’s concerned the message of condom use isn’t getting through. It’s estimated 20% of gay men are not condom users.
The government invests $4.2 million per annum to the prevention of HIV.
“NZAF is very focused on the 2014 epidemiology results. We are determined to improve on New Zealand’s good record in HIV prevention and not to let it go backwards,” Mr Robinson said.
The Foundation says it’ll aim to promote rapid response HIV testing more extensively, as well as more sophisticated advocacy around condom use.