Fuseworks Media

Big push to get 40% of gay and bisexual men to test for HIV in their homes

In 2006, 64.3% of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) had not tested for HIV recently, that number dropped to 55.7% in 2014, and again to 40% in 2022.

We know that almost all transmissions occur from people who don’t know they have acquired HIV. So testing is vital for MSM to stop HIV transmission by 2030 and to help us become the first country in the world to do it.

We know there are huge barriers to testing – whether people don’t want to talk to their doctor about the type of sex they’re having, they can’t afford to test or they live far away from any testing locations.

Enter self-testing. HIV self-tests are a mouth swab (no blood) that you can take at home – or literally anywhere you like, for increased privacy – with results usually available within 20 minutes.

Now, Burnett Foundation Aotearoa (formerly NZ AIDS Foundation) have launched a big push to get testing numbers up. Don’t Ride Distracted, is the message from the foundation.

We know that when people are testing regularly, they enjoy much better sex. They aren’t distracted.

Burnett Foundation Chief Executive Joe Rich says that they hope to encourage people to test by reminding them that it will improve their sex lives while stepping outside of the more traditional health messaging.

“Not knowing your status can make having sex an anxiety-inducing experience and take you out of the moment. We hope this message raises awareness for how easy it is to order a free HIV self-test kit.”

“Many people may not be aware that you can test from home, or anywhere, and that you can access these tests for free through our website. Our tests are sent in plain packaging, so nobody will know what’s shown up at your door,” says Mr. Rich.

To order your free HIV self-test visit: www.burnettfoundation.org.nz/selftest

Most people living with HIV with access to treatment have long and healthy lives. Taking antiretroviral medication can reduce your viral load to undetectable levels, which means there is no risk of passing on HIV through sexual contact.