28 Mar 2013

NZ Aids Foundation says securing funding for HIV work getting harder

9:00 am on 28 March 2013

The New Zealand Aids Foundation says funding available for international work on HIV, particularly around the Pacific region, is becoming harder and harder to get.

The Pacific Islands Aids Foundation is closing because it has been unable to attract new donor support after the New Zealand government withdrew its core funding in 2011.

The executive director of the New Zealand Aids Foundation, Shaun Robinson says donor organisations are having to prioritise very hard, and money is often focussed on places where HIV is rampant, like South East Asia.

Mr Robinson says PIAF worked hard to raise awareness around HIV in the region, but if there are no resources for people to do the work, then the work won't get done.

"So those people that are living with HIV are likely to not receive as much support, or appropriate support, they are more vulnerable to being discriminated against, they are more vulnerable to being hidden and ashamed into not revealing their HIV status and therefore not getting health treatment, but also then raising the risk of passing the HIV onto other people."

Shaun Robinson says it's a backwards step to not focus on the Pacific, as epidemics like HIV start small but always get bigger.