CONDUCTING HIV/AIDS RESEARCH AMONG INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN

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PACIFIC AIDS/HIV REPORTS Durban, South Africa 2000

AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE WOMEN'S ACCEPTABILITY OF
SCREENING FOR HIV (WASH) STUDY

M. Kipa 1, K. Heckert 2, S. Bagshaw 3, L. Fursman 4, M. A. Wilson 5; 1 Ngai Tahu Development Corporation Limited, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2 Christchurch, New Zealand; 3 New Zealand Family Planning Association, Christchurch, New Zealand; 4 University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States; 5 Christchurch, New Zealand

Issues: Public health research among the indigenous people in New Zealand, Maori, has inadequately addressed the cultural dimension of health and thus offers limited understanding of and explanation for the wide disparities in health status, including reproductive health indicators. The WASH study design responds to these limitations and advances the identification of sexual health risk factors for Maori women.

Description: WASH incorporates the three principles of the Treaty of Waitangi: partnership, participation and protection. The Treaty is the founding document of Aotearoa/New Zealand which protects the sovereignty of Maori, 15.1% of the country's population. WASH has consulted widely to establish institutional partnerships, project management participation and community protection to investigate women's preferences for HIV screening during pregnancy. Few providers in New Zealand discuss HIV with their clients and HIV screening is not part of routine antenatal care.

Conclusions: Lessons learned from the WASH project will impact the future design of Maori research and achieve a better understanding of AIDS in New Zealand relative to indigenous women. While New Zealand enjoys low HIV prevalence, sexual and reproductive health is critical to protecting Hauora Maori, the well being of the indigenous people.

Presenting author: M. Kipa Ngai Tahu Development Corporation Limited Level 6, Te Waipounamu House 158 Hereford Street P.O. Box 13-046 Christchurch, New Zealand Tel.: +64 3 371 0190 Fax: +64 3 374 9264 E-mail: mairek@ngaitahu.iwi.nz 

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