Tuberculosis, is it really a problem?

The MOH in Āotearoa, still record an average of 300 cases per year, more than new HIV infections. read more.

High rates are appearing with Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous peoples.

Why do I need to worry about TB?

What can I do to get help?

TB is spread through coughing, sneezing and/or spitting. It can lay sleeping in your body for many years before developing to a sickness. If you think you may have TB, your GP can test you and treat you with antibiotics.Patient's guide.

Around the world Indigenous People are being disproportionately impacted by TB and in many cases of both HIV and TB. We encourage people to investigate any suspicious coughs and fluid in the lungs.

What is HIV?/Te mate ketoketo

Whether you are an expert or new to HIV, there is always more to learn and know. This website is not a medical or scientific answer to HIV, but rather, a basic explanation on what it is, how you get it, how to prevent it and what happens if you do. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Te Mate keteketo (a bug in the blood).

There are only three modes of transmission, as the virus is very fragile and most external compounds will kill it, unlike Hepatitis, that can live outside the body up to 3 months. The modes of transmission are;

  • Unsafe Sex, or sexual intercourse, anally or vaginally, without a condom
  • Intravenously, via shared needles or in the past blood transfusions
  • Parent to child transmission, where the child may be exposed invitro or via breastfeeding.

There are key populations of people throughout the world that are more vulnerable to infection due to the high rates of HIV within their communities, and people who belong to these key populations are encouraged to use precautions and regularly test for HIV. They are Men who have sex with men, Sex Workers, and People who use drugs.

What is AIDS?/Te mate ārai kore

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is the result of living with HIV over a number of years, where the immune system, the bodies natural defence against illness, is gradually destroyed by the virus. The body becomes too weak to fight off many infections. This is the last stage of HIV infection where the body develops various diseases, infections and if left untreated, death. Today, this is avoidable with treatment, early detection and health maintenance. Indigenous peoples due to social health determinants that impact their personal health are still dying today, with a treatable disease. We encourage everyone to take treatment, however we do still respect those who make the decision not to take treatment. Nō tātou te mate, nō tātou hoki te rongoa.

What is TB?

TB is short for Tuberculosis. It is still the deadliest disease in human history. Killing more than 1.5 million people every year. It's airborne, infectious, drug-resistant and found in every country in the world. Leading experts have predicted that by 2050, evolving trains of drug-resistant TB could claim an additional 75 million lives, at the global cost of $16.7 trillion. In New Zealand, we average 300 new infections per year, more than HIV infections (Avg. 200 per year). The majority of these new infections are within low socioeconomic, family environments. We are beginning to see that social health determinants are factoring in with new diagnoses. There is no support other than medical interventions, nor is there any advocacy currently being heralded for people living with TB in Āotearoa. INA has taken on this mandate in preparation to develop TB advocates and raise the activism to the levels of HIV globally. It is still highly stigmatised, criminalised and discriminated against. People living with TB, can receive a treatment that will cure them, however, the damage to their lungs is irreversible. Thus, immigration laws in many countries will restrict people impacted by TB on entry.

How do I prevent getting HIV?

First and foremost Safe Sex with a condom and lubrication is preferred method of prevention. It has the highest effect.

A Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PreP is a potential prevention tool, but please seek out support first. This is by taking HIV medication (Antiretrovirals) as a form of protection. Currently this option is not widely available yet it is possible to access Prep and Pep (Post exposure).Check the New Zealand AIDS Foundation page for updates and Body Positive NZ inc. .


Where can I go to get tested?

There are several places you can be tested for HIV.

  • Your local General Practioner (GP)
  • DHB - Sexual Health Clinic
  • New Zealand AIDS Foundation
  • Body Positive nz
  • Family Planning Clinic

There are two types of test you can access in New Zealand;

  • A Rapid test - 4th gen. combined p24 antigen/antibody test that detects both the virus and the antibodies, this is fastest method of getting a result, it is then recommended to be followed up by a blood test at the sexual health clinic.
  • The Western Blot test which is an antibody test. That can take up to a week for a result, and depending on time of infection may give a false negative. This is still a definitive way of detecting HIV antibodies. And is able to provide people living with HIV a CD4 count of their HIV antibodies.

What happens when I test positive?

In New Zealand, although the prevalence of HIV is low, there is a lot of support organisations available to help answer questions and provide practical support around living with HIV. Including INA. list of resources.

We recommend asking an HIV specialist doctor/nurse any medical questions you may have. Our specialists are some of the best in the world, and we can also provide advocacy if required.

INA (Māori, Indigenous & South Pacific) HIV/AIDS Foundation

To improve the quality of life for whānau living with and impacted by HIV, and improve the quality of information given to whānau, hapū and Iwi.

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