HIV prevention advocates bewildered by funding cut
Health campaigners are questioning the loss of funding for important research as rates of new HIV diagnoses reach an all-time high in New Zealand.
Since 2002, the Ministry of Health has granted funding for two surveys that give insight into the behaviours contributing to the spread of the virus.
AIDS Foundation general manager Nick Laing believes the funding cut will be a significant blow to the ongoing effort to stop the spread of HIV.
"Having information to base prevention programmes on to target certain behaviours or target certain groups with key prevention strategies is really important," he says.
"We really need that information and that data to help us understand what might be driving that high level of new infections in the population."
Mr Laing says the lack of funding is particularly bad due to the timing - it's come at a point when more people than ever are found to have the disease.
"We need background information about some of the drivers that might lead to HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men, as it allows us to provide strategies to prevent them."
Mr Laing says they haven't been given an explanation as to why they lost funding.