21 May 2015

Too few Maori men getting HIV test - AIDS foundation

8:57 am on 21 May 2015

The Aids Foundation is urging more Māori men to get tested for HIV saying there is still a proportion presenting with signs of a late diagnosis.

Executive director Shaun Robinson said the number of Māori being tested for HIV had increased over the past five years, but he said there were still too many men not getting checked or not getting tested frequently enough.

Mr Robinson said the foundation believed that 20 percent of gay and bi-sexual men were not aware that they had HIV.

He said Māori, more than any other ethnic group, were more likely to be diagnosed late resulting in significant damage to their immune system.

Mr Robinson suggested a reason for the delay in people going for a test, or resistance to being tested more often, is that takatāpui, gay and bi-sexual men in the community still face stigma.

Mr Robinson said homophobia was present in Aotearoa and Māoridom and people face a real fear of how they will be treated by their whanau and community if they come out by going for a test.

He said last year's figures were higher than normal for Māori testing positive for HIV.