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Cablegate: New Zealand Aids Cases Minimal, but Concern

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS WELLINGTON 001010

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/ANP
STATE FOR USAID FOR GH/HIV-AIDS
STATE FOR S/GAC, OES, OES/PCI, OES/IHA
CDC FOR GLOBAL AIDS PROGRAM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI TBIO PGOV EAID NZ
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND AIDS CASES MINIMAL, BUT CONCERN
INCREASING OVER COMPLACENCY TOWARDS TRANSMISSION


1. (U) While the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in
New Zealand remains relatively small, the numbers have risen
sharply in the past two years, with homosexual cases (53%)
outnumbering heterosexual (21%) modes of transmission. NZ
Aids Foundation executive director Rachael Le Mesurier
posited that this could be due to complacency and
misinformation. She noted that myths surrounding the use of
HIV antri-retroviral drugs had led some in the homosexual
community to stop using adequate protection. Among
heterosexual cases, the majority of the increase of HIV in
2003/2004 is attributable to cases diagnosed initially
outside of New Zealand.

HIV/AIDS By the Numbers
------------------------

2. (U) News reports on the morning of World AIDS Day stated
that 819 cases of AIDS have been reported in New Zealand, and
2,153 cases of HIV since 1985, when record keeping began.
This represents 0.07 percent of NZ's total population, less
than one fifth of the proportional US rate of infection. In
2003, 154 people were diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, and in the
nine months to September 2004 a further 108 were diagnosed
with HIV or AIDS. Of the 2004 numbers, one quarter were
women or children. European men account for 49% of all
cases, and "other" ethnicities, which would include large
refugee populations, account for the next largest group
(33%).

International AIDS Efforts
---------------------------

3. (U) In July, Minister for Aid/Development Marian Hobbs
defended New Zealand in the wake of criticism by NGO World
Vision that the GoNZ was not providing sufficient
international support, noting that New Zealand has "committed
$6 million (US$4.2 million) to fight HIV/AIDS in the Pacific,
and in May (2004) we contributed a further $3 million (US$2.1
million) to international programmes such as UNAIDS and the
Global Fund on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria." In
addition, NZAID maintains an Africa strategy that has
HIV/AIDS as one of its three primary objectives, specifically
providing support for affected communities. Total
contributions to the Africa HIV/AIDS strategy are around NZ$2
million (US$1.4 million) for 2004/2005. These combined
contributions represent a little over 4 percent of NZ's total
aid budget of NZ$260 million (US$182 million) for 2004.
Swindells

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