Sunvoice

Let’s Make Sure Ratu Epeli’s Efforts Don’t Go To Waste

Fiji has 32 new cases of HIV/AIDS recorded from January to September this year. This does not include cases which may not have been reported. President and HIV Ambassador Ratu
02 Dec 2014 08:56
Let’s Make Sure Ratu Epeli’s Efforts Don’t Go To Waste

Fiji has 32 new cases of HIV/AIDS recorded from January to September this year.

This does not include cases which may not have been reported.

President and HIV Ambassador Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has been at the forefront of HIV-AIDS campaign. He has not been only a loyal foot-soldier of the campaign, his passion has been the hallmark of his crusade.

Wherever he has travelled in Fiji and the region, he has captivated his audience with his simple and bold messages. He has openly spoken about safe sex and publicly brandished condoms in a bid to get the message across. He has also spoken in a way to give people the courage to raise public awareness and get them to talk more freely without fear of being victimised.

In the World AIDS Day celebrations in Suva yesterday, Ratu Epeli said discussions on HIV/AIDS should not be confined to World AIDS Day. We must continue the discussion all year.

We have lived with HIV and AIDS now for nearly four decades and the number of cases has escalated over the years.

Our goal of achieving zero new infections remains an elusive dream.

Ratu Epeli has travelled widely, visited schools and spoken at several forums about HIV/AIDS. We commend him for his efforts. But he also deserves our support to spread his message.

Let’s make the next 12 months count by reducing the cases reported. By this time next year, we will know whether Ratu Epeli’s words of wisdom have been heeded or ignored.

It requires all of us to recommit ourselves to the cause.

People need protection against this deadly disease through an education and public awareness programme.

When people learn and know the facts of the disease, they will be deterred from engaging in sexual activities that endanger their safety. Those who have contracted it this year, have obviously ignored the warning signs or are ignorant.

Fiji’s latest HIV statistics serve as a reminder about the real danger that lurks out there.

In his campaign, Ratu Epeli has so far visited 160 schools and personally interacted with over 60,000 students, teachers and parents.

He has done his bit as an ambassador. He cannot do it alone. It is up to us to make sure his efforts do not go to waste.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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