NATION

Fiji Status ‘Subsided’

The stigma and shame associated with HIV status has subsided significantly in Fiji and the Pacific. This was revealed by the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau while delivering his key address
31 Jan 2015 10:48
Fiji Status ‘Subsided’

The stigma and shame associated with HIV status has subsided significantly in Fiji and the Pacific.

This was revealed by the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau while delivering his key address at the Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday.

“Today a growing number of positive men and women have had the courage and confidence to reveal their status, seek treatment, and in turn improve their health prospects,” Ratu Epeli said.

He said for a long time, fear and shame resulted in silence and isolation, a high incidence of opportunistic infections, poor health, and early death.

“Today positive people living with HIV are more secure in the knowledge that they will not be rejected or shunned from life-saving health and social services.

“They are more secure that they will be accepted in their communities, workplaces and places of worship.

He said the role of faith-based organisations must be acknowledged for it has been critical to this turn around.

Meanwhile, Ratu Epeli said Fiji had taken the lead in introducing human rights-based legislation.

“Our HIV decree, policies and guidelines have brought about dramatic changes, including decriminalising men who have sex with men, requiring voluntary and informed consent for HIV testing for persons below 18 years.

“And lifting travel restrictions on people living with HIV,” he said

Palau has also recently decriminalised homosexuality.

He said serious efforts had been made to prevent HIV among Fijian youths.

“As an HIV advocate, I have derived much personal satisfaction from raising awareness about HIV among our young people,” Ratu Epeli said.

He said he had visited 153 secondary schools around the country with only 27 more schools to go.

“We have also taken bold steps to eliminate mother to child transmission by adopting option B-Plus with the new ART guidelines released in 2014 by the World Health Organization,” Ratu Epeli said.

He said this had been a success for Fiji, improving accessibility and up to date interventions with treatment, care and support.

Feedback:  ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj

 



Five Squares 4th Birthday


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF App
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper