Last Thursday afternoon, Dr Peter Saxton from Otago Uni's AIDS Epidemiology Group (they're the people who keep track of all the numbers about HIV infection in NZ) released a new study, that you can find here.
The main finding from the study was that out of all the gay and bi guys with HIV in Auckland, about 1 in 5 who have the virus don't know it yet. So they weren't saying 1 in 5 gay or bi guys in Auckland have HIV - just out of the group of men who do have HIV, about 1 out of 5 don't know they have it.
The study also reported that approximately 1 in 15 gay or bi guys in Auckland have HIV, which is higher than we previously thought. But this number is way less than most big cities around the world. And it's less than most other big cities in similar sized countries to NZ, because gay and bi guys in NZ use condoms a lot more consistently than in other cities.
But that's no reason to relax.
Most guys in NZ who have HIV are really good about fucking with condoms and lube and taking care of who they're with. The worry is that guys who don't know they have HIV will be out fucking around without condoms because they think they can do it without hurting anyone else.
So if you fuck bare, and you fuck with a guy who doesn't know he has HIV, your chances of getting it skyrocket - arse-fucking without a condom is the easiest and most common way you'll get it in NZ, and that goes for tops and bottoms - being a top won't protect you from getting HIV if you fuck without rubber.
Some people seem to have got upset by the language in the report too, but they have to be pretty clear and direct with the terms they use, and they aren't criticising the number of guys we go to bed with - they never do, in fact they are cool with most gay and bi guys being much more sexually active than straight men, so they don't use words like "promiscuous" - they just talk about the number of partners.
Most of the info came from guys who stepped up at last year's Big Gay Out and gave an anonymous sample to be tested - just an oral swab was all they needed to get the data. A lot of guys took part, so it gives us a pretty good snapshot of the Auckland area.
What it means for us all though is that we need to continue to love our condoms. It’s great that our rates of condom use are high by international standards, but we will always strive for better. Use condoms and water-based lube. Love yourself, and if we all love each other by loving our condoms, we can stop this.