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Catching a computer virus is easy…so too is HIV

Media release 28 November 2007

Catching a computer virus is easy…so too is HIV

A new computer virus is spreading throughout New Zealand like wildfire, but it's not what you'd expect. It's actually an ingenious hoax created by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation to demonstrate just how easy it is to become infected with HIV if you don’t take precautions.

The viral campaign virus created with creative agency Hoopernagel is aimed at raising awareness of World AIDS Day which will take place on Saturday 1st December 2007.

The virus can be viewed at The message is simple: Catching a virus is easy. Always wear a condom.

“In the Internet-savvy age, we don’t think twice about ensuring our computers are protected from viruses,” says NZAF National Positive Health Manager Eamonn Smythe. “With HIV and STIs on the rise in our communities, we should also be ensuring the health of ourselves and our sexual partners by using condoms for anal and vaginal sex. There’s no cure for HIV - only prevention.”

Since the first AIDS diagnosis in New Zealand in 1984, 633 New Zealanders have lost their lives to the disease. Today it is estimated that more than 2000 New Zealanders are living with HIV, the deadly virus which can lead to AIDS.

Gay and bisexual men are the group most affected by HIV in New Zealand, with one new diagnosis recorded every five days in 2006. Overall, 177 diagnoses were recorded in 2006, the second-highest number in the history of New Zealand’s epidemic, with a further 84 diagnoses in the first half of 2007.

“There is still much misinformation and prejudice surrounding HIV despite it being around for more than twenty years, and while new treatments can extend the lifespan of those living with HIV, there are no pills for the stigma,” says Smythe.

Street collections will be taking place in Auckland and Wellington this Friday 30th November. All proceeds will go towards the NZAF Wellness Fund which provides direct individual care and support for all those living with HIV in New Zealand, irrespective of age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Those wishing to donate can also call 0900 RIBBON (742 266) to make an automatic $10 donation which will be added to your phone bill.


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