First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV-Positive in New Zealand

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the main virus causing AIDS, has been a serious challenge for global public health research.

According to The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), around 38 million suffered from the deadly disease in 2018, including 36.2 million adults and 1.7 million children aged 15 years or younger across the globe.

Despite a sharp decline in the number of people affected by HIV since 1997, 1.7 million people suffered from it in 2018 alone.

Sperm Positive and its Initiatives

On November 27, 2019, a sperm bank called ‘Sperm Positive’ was launched in New Zealand by three organizations: New Zealand Aids Foundation, Positive Women Inc., and Body Positive, ahead of World Aids Day which is held every year on the 1st of December.  It is the world’s first bank that collects and preserves the sperm of HIV infected people.

The primary aim of the bank is to create public awareness against the ill-treatment of HIV infected people and about new scientific treatments for blood transfusion and organs transplant among HIV patients.

The bank ultimately aims to fight against the prejudice of the public about the possibility of transmission of this to other diseases.

ART; An Effective Treatment

Three HIV-positive men from New Zealand agreed to donate their sperm to the bank. The bank ensures that under the medical treatment using ‘antiretroviral therapy’ (ART), the passing of the virus from them to others or their children can be prevented.

ART is a medical treatment that can reduce HIV virus levels in the blood and prevent HIV from deteriorating the infected human body. Having low virus levels in the blood means no HIV would be transmitted from an HIV-positive people to others.

Since being diagnosed in 1999, Damien Rule-Neal, who is one of the three donors, had been under several medical treatments. Trusting the sperm bank and its ART treatment he stated, “We’ve got the science behind it to say that medication makes you untransmittable.” Presently, he has two children and three grandchildren who are healthy and well.

The advance of Medical Treatment for HIV

Other advancements in the scientific treatment of HIV include the world-first kidney transplant from one HIV patient to another, which was successfully conducted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland in March 2019.

“A disease that was a death sentence in the 1980s has become one so well-controlled that those living with HIV can now save lives with kidney donation- that’s incredible,” shared Dr. DorrySegev, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins.

A Positive Response from Patients

Sperm Positive will also be providing a wide range of facilities to treat HIV patients and cater to the needs of the local fertility clinics. These local clinics can avail facilities provided by the bank for HIV treatments.

According to Mark Thomas, an associate professor at Auckland University, “HIV-positive sperm bank is ‘perfectly safe’.” He added the sperm bank is a “great idea” because it “opens up to everyone, including people with HIV, the joys of being a parent.”

Access to ART among HIV-positive pregnant women increased from 49% in 2010 to 92% in 2018. The treatment helped prevent diseases from being transmitted to their babies. Now, numerous HIV infected people avail of the ART facility. By the end of June 2019, 24.5 million people relied on this facility.

I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.

You can reach out to me at: [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *