World AIDS Day 2016: Our communities rally together to support HIV prevention in New Zealand

  • 📅1 December, 2016

Community members, volunteers and organisations working to prevent HIV and support people living with HIV rallied across the country to raise awareness and funds through NZAF's annual steet appeal, social media and through organising bake-offs. 

NZAF strongly advocated for the removal of the CD4 threshold. Currently people newly diagnosed with HIV in the New Zealand cannot access HIV medication until their CD4 count has dropped below 500. CD4 are white blood cells that give an indication of the health of a person’s immune system. For people living with HIV, a lower count indicates the extent of damage caused by the virus. The CD4 threshold is an outdated government policy that was developed two decades ago. PHARMAC, the New Zealand government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund, has assigned early access to HIV medicines as a medium priority but can’t fund it yet.

“All the tools exist to manage HIV and prevent transmission and making immediate treatment available to people diagnosed with HIV is one of them. It is a gross injustice that an individual should be denied treatment that both improves their health and has dramatic impact on their ability to pass on the virus,” says Dr. Myers, Executive Director, New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF). “The outdated policy was developed when HIV treatments were considered too toxic and something to be avoided until absolutely necessary. But newer treatments are far less toxic.”

Each year on World AIDS Day which falls on 01 December. This year, people can show their solidarity and support through signing the petition asking PHARMAC to stop withholding access to HIV medicines that will improve health and reduce new infections.

Across the country, volunteers took to the streets to raise awareness of HIV and raise fund to prevent HIV in our communities. 

Photo: Our gorgeous World AIDS Day street collectors spotted in Hamilton fundraising for the Wellness Fund and our HIV prevention efforts.

Photo: Volunteer action in Auckland

Photo: Bringing enhtusiasm and energy to Queen Street, Auckland

Photo: A friendly conversation can go a long way in raisising awareness of HIV

A number of corporates supported our efforts on World AIDS Day by hosting a bake-off and donating the proceeds 

Photo: Nick Laing (General Manager Operations/Deputy Executive Director, NZAF), Nick Grayston (Group CEO, The Warehouse Group), Anna Campbell (Chief People & Acting Chief Customer Officer, The Warehouse Group) and Miss Ribena.

Photo: World AIDS Day 2016 bake sale organised by the Southern Cross Health Society

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