Dr Peter Saxton from the Gay Mens Sexual Health group says more research is needed in New Zealand to better understand HIV.

The rise in diagnoses means research to better understand HIV transmission in this country is even more urgent says Dr Peter Saxton from the University of Auckland’s Gay Mens Sexual Health research group.

The call for more research follows the release of today’s report which showed the number of gay and bisexual men infected with HIV had increased from 69 in 2013 to 86 in 2014.


Saxton says that the three basic drivers of the HIV epidemic among gay and bisexual men hadn’t changed. “These are the higher efficiency of HIV and STI transmission by condomless anal intercourse, the higher probability of a sexual partner having undiagnosed HIV, and the higher sexual connectivity in the small gay community.”

But more needed to be understood about the circumstances that surround infection Saxton says.

“There’s now a wide array of interventions available to control this epidemic. Its trajectory is modifiable. The more we understand about the circumstances surrounding infection, the more effective we can be”.

However, Saxton says that he believes that condoms are still the most effective way currently known to combat the virus.

“If you’ve had anal intercourse without a condom then it’s important you test for HIV” Dr Saxton says. “But even more important is avoiding transmission in the first place by using condoms. In New Zealand condoms are free and accessible. Using them is simple and takes the guesswork out of sex, since you both know that HIV can’t be transmitted.”

 Article | Levi Joule.