INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ending HIV celebrates first-year wins at Big Gay Out

Published: Fri 2 Feb 2018 03:52 PM
Ending HIV celebrates first-year wins at Big Gay Out
Ending HIV Big Gay Out 2018 – community rallies behind campaign to end new HIV infections by 2025
One year from the launch of the Ending HIV social programme, the New Zealand AIDS Foundation is celebrating some major successes at the annual Ending HIV Big Gay Out:
1. An anticipated announcement is for the funding of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), the once-a-day pill taken by someone who is HIV-negative and at high risk of HIV, to prevent the acquisition of the virus.
In the 2017 election, the Labour Party campaigned on a promise to fund PrEP. NZAF is hopeful that a decision on PHARMAC’s proposal to fund the drug will be announced on the day of the Ending HIV Big Gay Out – next Sunday, February 11th.
2. A global movement has taken place to confirm that if a person living with HIV is on anti-retroviral treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load for at least six months, they do not transmit HIV sexually. In late 2017, NZAF signed on to the Prevention Access Campaign, declaring support for the notion that Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).
3. The removal of the CD4 threshold on July 1 2017, which allowed people diagnosed with HIV to access treatment immediately.
The Ending HIV campaign aims to maintain rates of condom use, make the preventative medication PrEP available to those who need it, find undiagnosed HIV infections through increased testing and provide immediate treatment to people diagnosed with HIV. The campaign is also vital in reducing the stigma around HIV, which is a key driver of rising infection rates.
“The Big Gay Out is a really important event for us to get across key messaging about HIV,” says Dr Jason Myers, Executive Director of NZAF.
“To achieve our ambitious goal of ending HIV transmissions in New Zealand by 2025, we need the LGBTQI community to be as educated as possible on recent breakthroughs, and to foster a sense of community so that we can support each other – especially those living with HIV. We now have all the tools we need to end HIV transmissions – it’s up to us now to empower New Zealanders to take action and end HIV. Events like the BGO are the perfect place to bring a big proportion of the community together and make sure everyone understands how they can play a role in Ending HIV.”
The Ending HIV Big Gay Out - key details:
· The Ending HIV Big Gay Out is a key annual event in the Auckland Pride Festival and is organised by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.
· It is one of New Zealand’s biggest annual celebrations of rainbow diversity.
· The BGO takes place on Sunday, Feb 11th from 12pm to 7pm at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier.
· Headline acts this year include kiwi singer-songwriter MAALA, Openside, LEXXA and Lavina Williams. A full line-up is available at www.biggayout.co.nz
· The Ending HIV Big Gay Out Marketplace will host more than 100 stalls featuring locally produced and speciality products and an abundance of food, snacks, and refreshments. There’ll also be a large variety of rainbow community organisations and political groups.
· Major sponsors of the Ending HIV Big Gay Out are Durex, LUSH Cosmetics, ANZ, AUT and Almond Breeze.
ends

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