HIV in New Zealand

James Meek1 and Gillianne Meek2
1Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
2Senior Lecturer, Waiariki Institute of Technology, Rotorua, New Zealand

New Zealand has approximately 2000 people currently living with HIV. Records commencing in 1985 indicate that 3474 people have tested positive, with 170 people being diagnosed in 2012. This figure, while being an increase on the 2011 figure, is lower than for every year during the period 2003–2010. To date, 678 people who went on to develop AIDS have died. New Zealand is a popular tourist destination in the South Pacific, comparable in land mass to the size of the United Kingdom, but with a total population smaller than some cities around the world; this again has contributed to lower than expected levels of HIV [1]. Despite large numbers of travellers visiting the country each year and having an extremely mobile commercial and recreational population, the annual rates of HIV infection have remained low, with no significant crossover to the general population from those most at risk. Much of this can be attributed to: good access to advanced medical and diagnostic services, continual funding of targeted prevention campaigns and the geographical alignment of the population. This is evidenced by Auckland (as the largest city), which  has a significant proportion of people living with HIV in the region, and is home to a substantial number of men who have sex with men (MSM) [1]. Consequently, this assists with the containment of the spread of HIV infection. Legislation to legalise homosexual activity and prostitution have also predisposed to a low HIV prevalence, along with New Zealand legalising homosexual marriages in 2013. Read more…