New Zealand HIV Population on the Rise; Gay Men Urged to Use Condoms Often

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A reveler has the word "Gay" painted on the stomach during the" WorldPride" gay pride Parade in Toronto, June 29, 2014.
A reveler has the word "Gay" painted on the stomach during the" WorldPride" gay pride Parade in Toronto, June 29, 2014. REUTERS

The number of people with HIV in New Zealand is growing. New Zealand's Ministry of Health has released a progress report about the latest HIV statistics and cautioned men having sex with other men to increase their use of condoms.

According to the agency, New Zealand homosexual men will need to use condoms more often to keep the HIV infection rate at its stable level. The report said that a growing number of people with HIV infection will indicate a higher number of new cases every year even if the transmission rate remains stable.

The ministry said New Zealand has 2800 people infected with HIV. While most are men having sex with other men, the number of heterosexual individuals infected with HIV have also increase in number. The growing HIV population has also been blamed on infections acquired outside of New Zealand.

The report further stated that more gay men should use condoms to minimise the impact of the growing number of people living with HIV. About 60 per cent of gay men use condoms almost or all the time while 20 per cent used protection sometimes. Twenty-percent of men having sex with other men almost never use condoms.

The campaign, Love Your Condom, has been launched by the New Zealand Aids Foundation to encourage the use of condoms among gay or bisexual men in the country. The positive social marketing campaign also aims to let condom use become a cultural norm.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, Australia, a dentist positive with HIV has caused a scare among patients as hundreds were urged to undergo tests. According to reports, about 399 people who had come into contact with the dentist were advised to take a blood test as a precaution.

The patients received a letter from the Department of Health urging them to take a precautionary blood test. Victoria's chief health officer Dr Rosemary Lester said that although there were no reports of people contracting HIV due to exposure to the dentist, people should be informed and rule out the possibility.

According to Australia's national guidelines, a health professional positive with HIV can continue to work as long as he or she does not perform exposure-prone procedures. Reports said the risk of HIV transmission from an infected healthcare professional is "extremely low" or equivalent to 0.09 per cent since there were only four cases of a worker passing on HIV to patients since 1992.

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