Questions in Category: Living with HIV
I understand access to free or subsidised HIV treatment is only available to New Zealand citizens or Australian citizens living in New Zealand. Are NZ residency holders (not citizens) are eligible for access to free or subsidised HIV treatment as well?
NZAF is not immigration specialists and we strongly advise you discuss your circumstances with an immigration expert.
All visa applications are on a case by case basis, so be honest in all correspondence with Immigration NZ. We suggest you contact Immigration to clarify your queries about healthcare funding.
In NZ, people living with HIV need to be seen by an infectious diseases department or sexual health clinic to initiate medication, as only specialists are able to apply for a special authority for subsidised HIV medication. We advise people to continue to have medication prescribed by their specialist at regular appointments.
For more iformation visit the Immigration Service website.
I received a job opportunity from New Zealand but I'm living with HIV in Brazil. I would like to know if New Zealand provides HIV treatment for people who have work visas.
People travelling to New Zealand on a work visa can access HIV treatment in New Zealand but it will not be funded by Pharmac. Depending on the drug combination the cost, unfunded, would be at least $1000 per month.
NZAF advises people to bring enough medication for the first three months. During that time NZAF can put them in contact with a hospital near where they are working so they can have blood tests. People are also advised to arrange for medication to be sent from their country of origin, so they do not have to pay for it here.
There can sometimes be delays when importing medication into the country, but Body Positive can help, possibly even supplying medication if there is an initial problem. It is also useful for people to bring a letter from their specialist.
Pharmac will only fund HIV treatment for New Zealand residents. It would be difficult for a person living with HIV to gain residency status in New Zealand unless they were in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen or had refugee status.
NZAF is not a licensed immigration advisor and you should seek advice from a licensed immigration advisor before making any decisions.
Hi there. I'm visiting my folks for a couple of months and they're not aware of my positive status. I also tested positive for CMV. I do feel pretty paranoid that I might end up infecting them accidentally. My father squashed a mosquito on my leg and he had a good drop of my blood on it. I put hand sanitizer on it and then I caught him rubbing his nose, close to the eye. I had him wash his hands immediately. I had also shared a glass of water with him. He ended up with a fever a few weeks later, which lasted for 2 days. He hadn't been ill for 3 years prior to that. Now I've noticed that he's got the same blisters as me on his toes and a wart on his index finger like mine. I really hope that I'm just being paranoid here. What advice can you provide me with here and what can I do to keep my family safe from me? Thank you for your time.
Hi, thank you for your question. Many reputable HIV research organisations have concluded studies that show no evidence whatsoever of HIV transmission via mosquitos or any other insect, so it is not possible that your father has acquired HIV from a mosquito that bit you. The risk of transmitting HIV through sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same glass is also extremely unlikely. There is a lot of research showing that saliva acts as a natural barrier to the HIV virus, so transmission of HIV via saliva is very low. Blisters are a known symptom of HIV but there is no reason to conclude that your father’s blisters represent a presence of HIV infection. HIV is transmitted through unprotected anal sex, direct blood to blood contact, breastfeeding, childbirth and sharing needles. Without giving your father an HIV test we could not confirm if he has acquired HIV, but we can confidently say that if you have not partaken in the above activities with your father, then he has not acquired HIV from you. Naturally this is a stressful experience for you so we would like to extend our support through our free and confidential counselling services, should you like to discuss this further with one of our support centre staff. We have centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and can provide services in many other locations around the country also.
What will you do if we are HIV positive in a test? Will you quarantine us and treat or can we work and stay with family or friends?
It would be against NZ human rights law to quarantine a person based on HIV status, so no you would not be quarantined if you tested positive for HIV. You will also be able to continue work as employers in NZ are not allowed to discriminate on HIV status. If you are in New Zealand on a visa and if you tested positive for HIV during the term of your visa, you can stay in New Zealand until the current visa runs out - you will not be kicked out. If you then re-applied for an extension of a visa you would have to undergo a medical exam and you would need to disclose if you were HIV positive. We are not in a position to comment directly on immigration policy and rules, but in our experience, you would be denied an extension to your visa if you became positive for HIV.
Access to free or subsidised HIV treatment is only available to New Zealand citizens or Australian citizens living in New Zealand (we have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia). If you are in NZ on a visa you would not be able to access free or subsidised HIV medication - you would either have to return to your country of origin for treatment, or seek advice from a NZ HIV specialist about paying full price for HIV medication here.
As mentioned above, we are not in a position to advise directly on visa or immigration policy, so if you are not currently a NZ citizen, we would suggest you seek further advice on this topic from the Department of Internal Affairs and Immigration New Zealand. We hope this information helps.
Hi there. What is the HIV/AIDS testing protocol like in New Zealand's Royal Navy? Are Navy personnel tested upon entry/discharge?
Hi, thanks for your question. Unfortunately we are not authorised to comment on, or across all individual organisations' policies around health screening. Having said that, in New Zealand, employers are not allowed to request mandatory HIV screening unless there is a clear risk of transmission in the role the candidate would be applying for. For example, a surgeon would present a potential risk to his/her patients if he/she was HIV positive - conversely, a office clerk would not. We would suggest that you contact the NZ Royal Navy about their policy and follow up with the Department of Labour if you require more information on employment law in regards to mandatory health screening.
Is it alright to have sex without a condom when you are HIV positive? And is it ok to lose weight when you are HIV positive?
If you are living with HIV then we would encourage you to use a condom every time you have sex. It is important that you take every step to ensure you do not transmit HIV to your sexual partner. The decision to tell or not to tell sexual partners your HIV status is yours to make, but it is important under New Zealand law to practice safe sex with condoms so HIV cannot be transmitted through sex.
It is fine to lose weight healthily if you are living with HIV. The emphasis is on healthy. Maintaining your health and wellbeing through adequate food and exercise is important for a healthy immune system regardless of HIV status.