MINISTRY STRENGTHENS HIV/AIDS AWARENESS PROGRAMS

CAPTION: Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma. File Photo.

THE Health Ministry has increased its awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS despite the increase in cases recorded last year.

Last year 62 new cases of HIV /AIDS were detected in Fiji bringing the total number of 482 cases for Fiji since 1989.

?HIV and AIDS in Fiji has come a long way, and the Ministry?s response to HIV and AIDS has progressed significantly. The rise in the number of cases for the country could mean a lot of things,? said the Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said

He highlighted that statistics indicate that more people are coming out for tests.

?People are getting confident and educated well enough to make the right decision in regards to testing and treatment?, Dr Sharma said.

?Majority of the cases were detected from the central division. The age category for HIV remains dominant in the younger population between the age of 19-30 and they come from all facets of life,? Dr Sharma said.

Government and Non-Governmental programs on HIV and AIDS is working although more needs to be done and the use of protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections which also includes HIV is low.

?Our program on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV has done great successes,? Dr Sharma said.

Integration programs have increased with the I Taukei Affairs, other ministries and civil society organizations who work in the area of sexual health to address the preventative component for HIV.

Dr Sharma has urged parents to speak openly about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and to teach children to refrain from having unprotected sex.

MINFO