How is COVID-19 affecting NZAF and its services?
Aotearoa has moved into a Traffic Light system under the new COVID Protection Framework.
This page is where we will host all relevant updates about how COVID-19 is affecting our services and offices. Last updated - Monday 24 January 2022.
Testing and Condom services
Our centres are currently open for booked appointments and walk-in testing services. Please note that cleaning and safety requirements will have an impact on the number of sessions we can offer and the wait times for walk-ins.
- Book your next HIV or STI test with our booking tool
- Want to know how we are working to keep you safe when accessing our services during COVID-19? And how you, too, can help keep us safe?
- If you can't find a booking time that suits you, remember you can still visit a sexual health clinic or your local GP to request HIV or STI testing. It's still a good idea to call or email ahead to check availability or access processes for different clinics.
- You can still order HIV and STI self-tests that you can do at home - please bear in mind current postal and courier volumes may affect delivery times.
- We are still sending condoms!
We are currently offering virtual counselling services.
- Head to the counselling booking form to get in touch.
- Our virtual sessions can be held via phone or video call.
- Check out how we're keeping our clients and staff safe for in-person services during COVID-19.
COVID-19 and people living with HIV
We monitor the latest understandings and medical advice on how COVID-19 might affect people living with HIV and keep our site updated with the latest vaccine advice for our whānau living with HIV - read more here.
We also strongly believe that COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your community and your whānau during this pandemic and encourage everyone to be vaccinated if eligible. As people become eligible for boosters, we recommend booking them in as soon as possible.
It's important to test for HIV and other STIs before rejoining your sexual networks after being in lockdown.
A silver lining of the dark cloud of COVID-19 is that it presents us with an incredible opportunity to actually break the chain of transmission for other viruses - like HIV!
While we move out of the Alert Level system for COVID-19 and to the Green, Orange, and Red Lights of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, there are still some things to think about when it comes to sex during this pandemic.
Lockdowns are behind us, but COVID-19 being out in our communities and much more likely to be transmitted now means we still need to be careful.
Below are our recommendations for how to look after yourself and your partners when it comes to COVID-19, as well as some other, more involved, actions people can choose to take if they want to even further reduce their chance of acquiring COVID-19.
What NZAF strongly recommend as ways to manage risk of COVID-19 when it comes to sexual encounters:
- Get your COVID-19 vaccinations
- Avoid sexual contact when you or your partners are not sure of your COVID-19 status - for example, if you are experiencing symptoms, awaiting test results, have been contacted as a close contact, or were in a high-risk location or area of interest. In these situations, self-isolate and follow Healthline advice.
- Ensure all your sexual partners can be contact-traced, in case either of you develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19
There are some more things you can do to reduce your risk even further - we know these aren’t going to be possible in all circumstances, but it’s important we share them so everyone knows there’s more they can do.
- Limit the size of your sexual networks/numbers of partners - this will mean it’s easier to keep track of who you’ve been in contact with and when.
- Ask your partner about their COVID-19 symptoms and reschedule if any concerns - this one may only offer very limited protection, as symptoms can change rapidly and people may be asymptomatic and still transmit COVID-19
- Make sure you’re getting tested for COVID-19 even for minor symptoms
- It’s also really important to be prepared to cancel a hook-up at short notice if even mild symptoms appear - we know it sucks to look forward to something and have to cancel, but it really is important to stay home if you or your partner/s have even a sniffly nose.
- Explore more physically distanced sexual activity in person. For example wanking together - though this isn’t an excuse to whip it out without consent, make sure you and your partner(s) are safe, everyone present consents, and you are in a private space and out of public view in compliance with New Zealand law.
- Space out sexual encounters by 5-7 days. This would allow time for contact tracing or symptomatic infection to develop, if any of the partners (or you yourself) test positive.
- Consider talking to partners about vaccination status and encourage vaccination to prevent the transmission of COVID-19
Lastly, there are the things you can do if you really want to, but we aren’t actively recommending them for everyone. We know that they are not realistic expectations for most people, but again, some may want to take extra care - and that’s okay too. These are the actions that are very effective at preventing COVID-19, but may be difficult to follow.
- Avoiding all sexual contacts - again, please remember, we are not actively recommending anyone abstain. Simply mentioning that if one were to truly eliminate the risk of acquiring COVID-19 during sex, this is the way to do it.
- Avoiding sexual contacts outside of your household bubble and keeping it temporarily monogamous if this is not your and your partner’s usual thing
- Only virtual sexual contacts
COVID-19 should not be having an impact on services to access PrEP at this time.