New Zealand has launched ‘Sperm Positive’, the world’s first HIV positive sperm bank, in an endeavour to reduce stigma associated with the virus and educate people about HIV transmission. The partners behind the initiative are New Zealand Aids Foundation, Positive Women Inc and Body Positive.
The sperm bank accepts donations from people with an undetectable viral load, which means the amount of virus in their blood is too low to be detected or passed on to others, both to sexual partners and to any children. It launched on 1 December 2019, with three male donors.
The move is important for those living with the virus and experiencing stigma because of it, as well as those at risk of infection. As Dr Mark Thomas, an infectious diseases doctor and Auckland University associate professor, told the Guardian: “Stigma can lead to inconsistent taking of medicines, and result in much less effective treatment of HIV, and risk of transmitting HIV. Fear of stigma and discrimination can stop people at risk from getting tested, and those living with HIV from accessing treatment and support.”
Signal spotted by Kaya Carter