At his first visit to Auckland’s Big Gay Out annual event, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the government’s involvement in ending HIV in the nation by 2030 and unveiled a new plan of action to help.
“I’m really proud to be launching today the HIV action plan designed to eliminated transmission of HIV in New Zealand and also eliminate the stigma associated with HIV in New Zealand,” Hipkins said in a statement.
The 44-page plan of action covers guiding values, the framework of the action plan, the focus areas, and implementation.
“I have had patients who couldn’t engage in care and felt unable to accept their diagnoses primarily because of the stigma that surrounds HIV,” said Health Minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall. “It is now time to mobilize around another ambitious goal: to see local HIV transmission eliminated and people living with HIV leading healthy lives free from stigma and discrimination.”
Due to COVID, this is the first time the Big Gay Out has happened since 2021. Hipkins also took a moment to celebrate the life of Georgina Beyer, the world’s first openly transgender member of Parliament and mayor, who passed away at 65.
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also in attendance, and her presence was particularly celebrated after the 2020 election when New Zealand elected the most LGBTQ-inclusive parliament in the world.
Prior to the unveiling of this plan, New Zealand had previous set a goal of eliminating transmission by 2032.