258 new HIV cases and 29 deaths this year

December 2, 2023 7:52 am

Fiji is grappling with a significant spike in HIV cases.

Between January and September this year, 258 cases have been reported with a stark impact on adults and children.

The Ministry of Health reveals that 96 per cent of these cases are among adults while children constitute the remaining four percent.

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The toll includes 29 deaths—26 among adults and three among children.

The Ministry states that what adds to the distress is a disturbing trend where individuals despite being aware of their HIV status have defaulted on treatment.

Six cases among children are attributed to mother-to-child transmission while an alarming four cases  aged between 11 to 14 were transmitted through different means.

Teenagers, particularly in the 20 to 29 age group contribute to 14 cases. Geographically, the Central/Eastern Division bears the brunt with a prevalence rate of 62 percent, followed by the Western Division at 33 percent and the Northern Division at five percent.

Males are disproportionately affected, constituting 70 percent of the cases  including five transgender individuals.

Ethnically, the iTaukei community reports a staggering 82 percent of cases with six cases reported among other ethnicities.

The age breakdown highlights significant cases in the 20-29 age group emphasizing the necessity for targeted interventions.

Of the 28 AIDS-related deaths, all were among newly diagnosed patients with 99 percent having never received Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).

The death of one patient stresses the critical importance of consistent clinic attendance.

The Ministry is addressing these HIV challenges, urging public awareness, support and access to treatment.

Ongoing efforts aimed at reducing HIV incidence and enhancing the well-being of those affected have also been prioritized.

Early testing and treatment take center stage with a call for public vigilance and proactive prevention.