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151 New Cases – HIV Cases in Fiji Increase

People are encouraged to know their HIV status and get tested, as life-long, lifesaving HIV treatment is available at no cost to every Fijian.
03 May 2022 12:00
151 New Cases – HIV Cases in Fiji Increase

Fiji recorded 151 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last year.

This has been the highest number of reported annual HIV infections since the first reported case in 1989.

There have been 25 HIV-related deaths including 1 paediatric death.

 

These statistics were shared at the quarterly HIV board meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services and attended by other members from government ministries, development partners, academia, civil society organizations and HIV board patron Speaker of Parliament and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

 

Since 1989, there has been a cumulative number of 1,417 cases of HIV reported in Fiji.

The prevalence of HIV has risen to 0.16 from 0.14 in 2020.

From the 151 reported HIV infections, 82% were from the ages of 20-49, 6% adolescents and 6% are less than 10 years of age reflecting 9 mother to child transmissions.

 

Fiji

Fiji

Divisions
Geographically, 52% of the new infections were recorded from the Central/Eastern division.

36% was from the Western division and 12% from the Northern division.

The Western and Northern divisions have reported an increase in cases in comparison to 2020.

The new infection shows a shifting trend in the gender profile with 52% of cases among men, 47% female and 1% transgender.

 

The new infection case summaries reflect that most of the diagnosis are in the younger population bracket.

The main mode of transmission is through unsafe sex practices.

Some of the newly diagnosed cases have indicated to be injecting drug users and are sharing needles with others, which is another emerging mode of HIV transmission.

 

The Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Photo: Leon Lord.

The Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Photo: Leon Lord.

COVID-19
Most infections reported were from late case presentations of HIV during the second wave of COVID-19 in Fiji.

These numbers reflect a cause for concern, citing the potential of many unknown cases in the community.

 

The Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Chair for the HIV Board Dr James Fong has appointed a working group consisting of senior HIV medical staff and development partners such as UNAIDS to escalate current efforts by the HIV program to counter these rising numbers.

 

“These escalated efforts are to cover all focus areas starting from prevention, data management, testing, treatment, and the delivery of care.”

“The Ministry acknowledges the importance of community partners and will work jointly to ensure that at risk populations receive the services they need.”

 

Renata Ram - UNAIDS Country Director for Fiji.

Renata Ram – UNAIDS Country Director for Fiji.

UNAIDS
UNAIDS Country Director for Fiji, Ms Renata Ram says

“There has been a continuous trend of an increase of reported infections, matched with an estimated continuous increase of new infections by over 116 per cent since 2010, and this is now becoming more visible and worrying.”

 

“UNAIDS recognizes that COVID has impacted negatively on Fiji’s HIV programmes and as the technical partner on HIV/AIDS, we will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to provide the guidance, resource mobilization and support needed to meet the 2025 HIV targets.”

 

These targets include the:
– Availability of combination HIV treatment for all, ending paediatric AIDS and eliminating vertical transmission,

– Gender equality and empowerment of girls and women- this includes that 95 per cent of women & girls have their HIV & sexual reproductive care services met including antenatal care information & counselling,

– Community leadership through community-led programming,

– Elimination of stigma and discrimination,

n Universal health coverage and resources provided to deliver continually sustainable HIV services.

 

“These are ambitious targets and the ministry’s commitment to escalating these efforts is the step in the right direction to meeting the targets needed to put Fiji on track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030”.

 

HIV Drugs

HIV Drugs

Get Tested
People are encouraged to know their HIV status and get tested, as life-long, life-saving HIV treatment is available at no cost to every Fijian.

Young people especially are encouraged to visit their nearest health centres, or Sexual Reproductive Health Clinics in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa to get tested with full confidentiality and be counselled on prevention options that best suit them.

It was estimated that in 2020 that 1,300 people are living with HIV and program statistic indicate that at the end of 2021, 804 People Living with HIV know their status and 80% of them are currently on antiretroviral treatment of which 6% are virally supressed.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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