World’s First HIV Positive Sperm Bank Launched in New Zealand

In an effort to reduce stigma around the ailment and those living with it, New Zealand launches the world’s first HIV positive sperm bank, reported The Guardian.

The online sperm bank called ‘Sperm Positive’ has started its operations with three male donors who are HIV positive but in whom the virus load is undetectable.

An undetectable HIV means the amount of virus in the person’s blood is so low that its nearly undetectable and although this doesn’t mean the person is fully cured, it does mean that it can no longer be passed on even via sex or childbirth.

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This initiative was created by the New Zealand Aids Foundation, Positive Women Inc and Body Positive in the hopes to educate people about HIV transmissions and the undetectable status.

“I have many friends who are also living with HIV who have gone on to have children,” says Damien Rule-Neal, one of the donors.

Rule-Neal was diagnosed with HIV in 1999 but was confirmed undetectable and has been undergoing treatment for over 18 years. He feels there is still a great deal to be achieved in terms of awareness and education of HIV and particularly of the undetectable status.

Damien Rule-Neal, one of the donors at Sperm Positive.“Being able to help others on their journey is so rewarding, but I also want to show the world that life doesn’t stop post-diagnosis and help to remove the stigma.”

Sperm Positive has said it will will provide due disclaimer to those looking for a donor that they have HIV but also make it clear that they are on effective treatment and cannot pass on the virus.

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“Fear of stigma and discrimination can stop people at risk from getting tested, and those living with HIV from accessing treatment and support,” the doctor added.

The online bank, launched ahead of World Aids Day, 1 December, has said it will not be working as a fertility clinic, rather a facilitator that will get parties in touch with a fertility clinic if they are both in agreement.

Along with informing the public and spreading awareness about the virus, Sperm Positive also aims to provide those infected with the virus an opportunity to help create life and let them know of this service available to them.

(Written with inputs from The Guardian.)

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