News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


New Pharmac Funded Drug to Benefit Maori

02 December 2016

New Pharmac Funded Drug to Benefit Maori

Māori will benefit from Pharmac’s decision to fund a new medicine that combats HIV, an advocate for Māori living with the life-threatening disease says.

Marama Pala, an advocate for Māori living with HIV

Pala, 45, was diagnosed with HIV in 1993 when she was 22, and is the first Māori woman to announce her HIV positive status. She serves on a number of international organisations advocating rights and support for indigenous peoples living with HIV, and is the executive director of INA, (Māori, Indigenous & South Pacific) HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Māori are often diagnosed with HIV in the later stages of infection, making up 40 per cent of ‘late’ diagnoses in New Zealand, Pala said.

“Māori are less likely to access testing regularly. There are high healthcare disparities and ongoing social health determinants that lead to less-vigorous healthcare for Māori,” she says.

Pala says the stigma attached to the disease, discrimination and a lack of education within Māori rural communities were also contributing factors on late detection in Māori.

“In some areas people still believe prostitution is illegal and being gay is still a jailable offence. So many Māori are diagnosed in the later stages of infection.”

While deaths from HIV have declined dramatically due to ever-improving treatment and access to medical care, infection rates are on the increase, according to sexual health physician Dr Rick Franklin.

Last year 224 new cases of HIV were detected in New Zealand. The majority of those infections (153) were contracted by men who have sex with men (MSM). The number of new infections has increased every year since 2011[1].

Without treatment, HIV destroys the body’s immune defences resulting in AIDS and reduced life expectancy.

While prevention would always be the most important factor in tackling HIV, new medications mean people diagnosed with HIV now have relatively normal lifespans.

From November 1, Pharmac has funded Tivicay (dolutegravir), a HIV medicine from the integrase inhibitor class that blocks the HIV virus from spreading through the immune system.2

Pala says: “Tivicay will provide another option for people living with HIV in our country. Having more treatments available for New Zealanders is always a bonus” she says


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland