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NZ Vanquished Coronavirus. It's Setting Its Sights on HIV

There have been no new cases for a week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2020 4:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – New Zealand on Friday had all but eradicated the coronavirus from its shores with just one person in the nation of 5 million known to be still infected. The country's health authorities have not found any new virus cases for a week. Of the 1,504 people who were infected, 22 have died and all but one of the rest have now recovered. The nation's borders remain closed and staying virus-free when they eventually reopen poses a big challenge, the AP reports. The country, which ended its 51-day lockdown earlier this month, is easing restrictions again on Friday and will allow gatherings of up to 100 people.

With COVID-19 apparently vanquished, health authorities believe they now also have a unique opportunity to break the chains of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. "What needs to happen now is before people re-enter the realm of sex with casual partners, they need a test," says Jason Myers, chief executive of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. "We know there are a number of New Zealanders living with undiagnosed HIV infection. If we can find those individuals through testing, diagnose them with HIV and link them to care and treat them we will have broken the chain."

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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