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Free Services for Christchurch’s Gay Residents

Free Services for Christchurch’s Gay Residents

To help deal with levels of stress among Christchurch residents, the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) is providing free, professional and confidential services tailored specifically to the needs of Christchurch’s gay communities. Having moved to temporary premises in St Alban’s, NZAF South/Te Toka is providing full counselling, psychotherapy and testing services.

Shaun Robinson, NZAF Executive Director, says “We’re really focussed on meeting the needs of the gay communities in Christchurch because overlooking the health needs of our sexual and gender minority groups poses serious risks. Many people are familiar with the phenomena of post-disaster baby booms. But not many people are aware of the other implications of post-disaster sex such as the potential surge in STIs or HIV among high risk groups.” Post-earthquake services such as those provided by Relationship Services and other groups are extremely valuable to Christchurch but Robinson adds that “Some residents, like gay and bisexual men, will need extra services like HIV testing or counselling that’s specifically for them - and that’s where we can help”.

NZAF South/Te Toka provides a free, anonymous and simple FASTest for HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis C that gives results in ten minutes. The tests are carried out by staff who are fully qualified and accredited by the NZ Association of Counsellors (NZAC) or NZ Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP). Appointments for counselling or testing can be made by contacting NZAF South/Te Toka.

HIV transmission can be easily prevented by using condoms and lube which are available at no cost at distribution points around Christchurch. Information on where to find free condoms and an order form can be found at www.condoms.getiton.co.nz or through facebook at www.facebook.com/getiton.nz.

ENDS

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