Number of Gay Men Infected with HIV in New Zealand Increases

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The number of gay and bisexual men infected with HIV has increased with 86 new cases being reported in 2014 according to results released today.

2014’s annual HIV results  have been released by the AIDS Epidemiology Group, based at the University of Otago which reveal that 217 people were newly reported with HIV – higher than any year since 2008.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) were the largest group affected. Of the 217, 136 were MSM, a statistic highlighted in the group’s report.

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“Of concern is the increase in MSM diagnosed who were infected in New Zealand which rose form 69 in 2013 to 86 in 2014” says Associate Professor Dickson the Director of the AIDS Epidemiology Group.

Dr Peter Saxton from the University of Auckland says the newly released data paints the same picture that has been seen over the last few years.

“For the 86 MSM infected in New Zealand, caution should be applied as often new diagnoses are the result of infections acquired some years ago. However, “a particular worry is the rise in the number of individuals in 2014 with a CD4 count over 500 at the time of diagnosis, indicating a recent infection” says Saxton. This was true for 39 MSM in 2014, compared to an average of 24 over the previous 4 years.”

While the figures show an increase in the numbers diagnosed, Saxton says that could possibly be down to an increase in testing.

“Our behavioural surveys show that HIV testing rates have been rising over the last decade which may mean that more infections are being diagnosed” says Saxton. “That would also indicate that the right individuals – those with undiagnosed infection – are accessing testing in a more timely way”.

  Article | Levi Joule.

 

 

 

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