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International News

New Zealand HIV Infections Hit Record High in 2005

March 8, 2006

Data released Tuesday by the AIDS Epidemiology Group at Otago University show that new HIV cases in New Zealand hit a record high in 2005. The number of new HIV diagnoses last year, 183, was up by 17 percent from 2004 and represented the largest number of new cases since record-keeping began in 1985.

Homosexual sex was the transmission route for 89 of the new cases, a 19 percent increase from 2004. Heterosexual sex was the transmission route for 73 cases, 35 men and 38 women. Mother-to-child transmission resulted in six pediatric cases. The cause of 15 new infections was not known.

"Treatments might have improved but this is still a deadly serious virus," said Hoani Jeremy Lambert, board chairperson of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. "It has a major impact on health and wellbeing, and people still die prematurely, especially infected children."

"Prevention is still our best option," said Rachael Le Mesurier, the foundation's executive director. "A properly used condom is close to 100 percent effective against the virus, and HIV screening of all pregnant women would practically eliminate mother-to-child transmission."

The spike in cases among men who have sex with men is especially concerning, the foundation said. Three out of four new male cases were from Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. "In spite of an abundance of HIV prevention information in gay communities, it seems that an increasing number of men are choosing not to use condoms for anal sex every time," Le Mesurier said.

Back to other news for March 8, 2006

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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