NZ's First PrEP Forums Well-Received by Community
On June 8th, Ending HIV’s first community forum for PrEP was held in Auckland, in collaboration with Body Positive. Over 100 people had an opportunity to hear a range of perspectives, from the personal experience of being on PrEP to the clinical perspective from a doctor who prescribes it. Three weeks later on June 27th, the second forum was held in Christchurch, drawing a crowd of over 60.
As well as listening to the range of speakers, attendees had an opportunity to ask questions - such as how gay and bi men could begin conversations with their GPs about their sexual behaviours and ask for PrEP? Or how can gay and bi men access and order PrEP online and trust that they’re getting high quality medicines?
“The PrEP forum was an informal yet informative way of presenting all the different stories around PrEP in New Zealand. It was great to see a broad representation of the community coming out to support such an important step forward in the view towards sexual health,” says Auckland forum attendee Andrew Seaforth.
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily pill taken by people who are HIV-negative in order to reduce their risk of HIV infection. PrEP is a vital component of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s strategy for ending all new HIV transmissions by 2025.
“The success of the forums exceeded any of our expectations. The turn out, and the enthusiasm of the participants, speaks volumes about the place that PrEP can play in Ending HIV in Aotearoa,” says Seb Stewart, NZAF's Community Engagement Programme Manager.
HIV testing was available on both nights and it was encouraging to see a steady stream of testers throughout the evening.
A follow-up get-together is being held at the NZAF Auckland office on July 13th - all those interested are welcome to attend.