Xinhua News Agency (02.02.12) - Thursday, February 02, 2012
In a recent study, one in five HIV-positive gay and bisexual
men in New Zealand did not know they were infected. According
to the authors, their 2011 research presents the first
estimate of actual and undiagnosed HIV infection among a
community sample of New Zealand men who have sex with men. Of
1,049 MSM tested, 67 had HIV (6.5 percent)- including 14 (20.9
percent) who had no idea, the study found. New Zealand saw a
record 95 new HIV diagnoses among MSM in 2010, continuing an
upward trend noted since 2003.
"The existence of people with undiagnosed HIV infection must
be taken seriously if we're going to bring HIV under better
control," said Dr. Peter Saxton, lead study author with the
University of Otago's Department of Preventive and Social
Medicine. "A person with undiagnosed HIV cannot tell someone
they're infected and might not initiate safe sex."
Most of those unknowingly infected had believed they did not
have HIV, and many had previously been tested for the virus.
"The practical reality of this is that everyone, especially
gay men, needs to become better educated, supported, and
proficient at safe sex to control HIV and other [STDs],"
Saxton said. "Individuals with HIV who remain undiagnosed
delay treatments that can improve their quality of life and
life expectancy" and reduce their infectiousness to others, he
said. "New Zealand has one of the best records of HIV control
internationally, and we need to keep it that way by
encouraging condom use and earlier diagnosis among those most
Previously, one in 20 gay and bisexual men in Auckland were
thought to have HIV, said Shaun Robinson, executive director
of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. The new study suggests
that figure is now one in 15, Robinson said.
To access the study, visit: