Fiji President calls on MPs to boost HIV/AIDS efforts

From lefy are Dr Noor Azmi Bin Ghazali; Tarana Halim-Bangladesh; Nandi Glassie;Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and John Hyde.

Members of Parliament in Asia and the Pacific must be more active in global efforts to end HIV/AIDS and discrimination, according to Fiji President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

Speaking to the region?s parliamentarians and media at the launch of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) campaign at ICAAP 11 in Bangkok, Ratu Epeli said MPs were key stakeholders in the allocation of and access to resources.

?No-one should be dying from AIDS anymore ? zero deaths by 2015 is achievable,? said President Ratu Epeli, who as the former Speaker of the Fijian Parliament in 2004 was a leading HIV/AIDS advocate as vice president of AFPPD.

?We have the skills and medicine to enable all people in our region to live healthy lives, with or without HIV/AIDS.

?What we lack is equity of access to resources to keep people living healthy lives.?

AFPPD deputy director John Hyde, a former Australian MP, said it was important the region?s parliamentarians were active participants with the 5000 other delegates at the 11th?International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP11), the world?s second largest forum on HIV/AIDS.

?Parliamentarians need to be at the forefront of strengthening the political commitment for the comprehensive sexuality education for young people that leads to HIV/AIDS prevention,? said Mr Hyde.

AFPPD, cso partner IPPF ESEAOR and UNAIDS will mobilise champion parliamentarians from across the region at ICAAP11 in a parliamentarian session on ?Parliamentarian Best Policy Practices on Achievement of Universal Access to Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Health Care for People Left Behind in the Asia and the Pacific? to strengthen their leadership role in a human rights-based policy approach to triple zero.

AFPPD