'I don't have any dildos set up' - Big Gay Out organiser reassures Bill English




The Prime Minister's voting record against same sex marriage wasn't held against him as he made his first appearance at Auckland's Big Gay Out today.

At his first Big Gay Out, the new Prime Minister's mind was put at ease by David Friar, the NZ Aids Foundation chairperson.
Source: 1 NEWS

He was welcomed warmly, even assured there'd be no dildos on display, but he did face stiff lobbying to do more to prevent the spread of HIV as infection rates soar.

"We'll just show you the work we're doing. It's alright, I don't have any dildos or anything set up like that," NZ Aids Foundation Chairperson, David Friar told Mr English.

It was a slow walkabout - Mr English stopped for selfies and chats with people every few steps.

He said it was "a big happy event".

Mr English voted against same sex marriage, but has since changed his mind and that u-turn prompted the odd interrogation at the event.

"What's the key thing that changed your mind?" a member of the public asked.

"Well as I said law's passed, people are getting on with it, they seem to be happy," Mr English replied.

The visit proved to be a crash course in HIV prevention for the PM.

One person running a stall at the festival told Mr English that Government support and funding is a needed for HIV prevention strategies to work.

This year's festival promoted an end to the transmission of the virus by the year 2025.

"We know that treating people diagnosed with HIV is the best thing for their individual health and for HIV prevention. But currently in New Zealand, people diagnosed with HIV have to wait until their immune system is sufficiently suppressed before they can access treatment," said Aids Foundation executive director, Jason Myers.

But there's work to do. In fact 153 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, twice as many four years earlier.

"You can always do more and the foundation is certainly vigorously putting its case for that," Mr English said.

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