It’s permanently moved into premises upstairs at 253 Cashel Street in the central city, following two temporary earthquake-induced relocations.
NZAF Executive Director Shaun Robinson says the new regional centre will provide a central and welcoming space for community members, in particular the ‘rainbow’ and African communities. “We’re looking forward to welcoming people back,” he says.
NZAF South/Te Toka is the only place in Canterbury that provides free HIV, syphilis and Hep C rapid-testing that provides a result in ten minutes. All testing is carried out by qualified and professional counsellors and psychotherapists who are there to provide support for both positive and negative diagnoses.
Robinson says this service fills a gap in existing public health services. "Canterbury Sexual Health do a fantastic job working with everyone for any kind of sexual health need. But being smaller and community based means that NZAF South/Te Toka can provide specialist services; for example our HIV test takes a drop of blood from a fingertip and is tested during the appointment instead of drawing a blood sample and then sending it off to a lab which means results can take up to a week to receive.
“We also provide free, confidential and professional counselling and psychotherapy which is a real asset for gay and bisexual men who want to speak to a counsellor from their communities, or for people who want to discuss their sexual health needs and get some support".
Parking for NZAF clients and visitors attending the centre is available at the back of the building.
NZAF South/Te Toka will soon host an open house event for community members to visit and familiarise themselves with the new premises. Details of the event will be confirmed as soon as possible.