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Gay men & NZAF work together to beat HIV/AIDS

PRESS RELEASE 05 August 2004

Gay men & NZAF work together to beat HIV/AIDS

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation will work harder to ensure community input into HIV/AIDS prevention and education campaigns as a result of feedback from public forums held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch from June 28 to June 1.

NZAF Executive Director Rachael le Mesurier said today that the forums, held to raise awareness of a rapid rise of HIV among gay and bisexual men in New Zealand, were a considerable success, both from an awareness raising point of view and also for the feedback from forum participants.

“What was clear was that our communities had a lot of very useful information to tell us about why they thought there was a rise in HIV in New Zealand and what could be done about it,” Ms Le Mesurier said. “We also learned that many of the activities the NZ AIDS Foundation already carries out on behalf of its communities are not well known to the people they are intended to benefit. This tells us we need to listen more often, but also be better at ‘blowing our own trumpet’ about the things we are already doing well.”

Safe sex resources aimed at older men, greater use of mainstream media for HIV education, an investigation into making HIV testing faster and easier, and programmes aimed at combating sexuality and gender-based discrimination , were some of the key subjects that the forums asked the foundation to address and report back on.

“We will be looking to repeat the success of the forums by using them as a model for future consultation of our communities, but we will also be creating focus groups comprised of community members to help ensure that our HIV education and community support outreach is appropriately targeted and inclusive of the people it is aimed to support,” Ms Le Mesurier said.

A full copy of the NZAF report on the community forums is available to download on the NZAF website www.nzaf.org.nz , or order by email from steve.attwood@nzaf.org.nz, or order a posted hard copy from:
Steve Attwood
NZAF Communications Coordinator
PO Box 13-618 Armagh
Christchurch

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