HIV Numbers Rise, Concerns Ministry
The increase in the number people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a major concern for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Philip Davies said: “The trend of the HIV infection in Fiji continues to increase especially amongst the 20 to 29 years followed by the 30 to 39 years.
“The 2015 Global AIDS Progressive Report for Fiji shows that Fiji had a cumulative total of 545 cases.”
Mr Davies highlighted this at the opening of the five-day National Capacity Building Training on the Prevention of HIV/AIDS Programme in Suva yesterday.
“Civil society plays a critical role in HIV and AIDS advocacy and service delivery,” Mr Davies said.
“Without your continuous support, fewer services would be available to key populations, and many of the gains made in prevention and treatment because of civil society advocacy would not exist,” he told workshop participants
Mr Davies said Fiji’s response to HIV had shown achievements and had also broken down barriers, especially in the last five years.
“Fiji has taken the lead role in introducing human rights-based legislation as reflected in Fiji’s HIV/AIDS Decree and also in its policies and guidelines.
“We have taken bold steps to eliminate mother to child transmission by adopting option B-Plus,” he said.
Mr Davies said this had been a success for Fiji, improving accessibility and up to date interventions with treatment, care and support for HIV positive mothers and their babies.
“Fiji through the HIV/AIDS Board in partnership with NGOs have conducted research to assist the country in reducing stigma and discrimination on People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
“Those affected, strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services amongst our key populations especially to the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and the sex workers in Fiji, strategising and implementing targeted interventions for young people to name a few,” he said.
Meanwhile, statistics show that there is a decrease in HIV globally, as Mr Davies noted: “As of December 2015, UNAIDS global statistical report shows that 17 million people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral treatment, new HIV infections have fallen by six per cent since 2010, new HIV infections amongst children have declined by 50 per cent since 2010 and AIDS related deaths have fallen by 45 per cent since the peak in 2005.”
The workshop will end on Friday.
Edited by Rusiate Mataika