Fiji's fight against HIV escalates

March 12, 2024 6:43 am

[File Photo]

Minister for Health Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu has outlined plans to tackle the rise in HIV cases in the country.

Yesterday, the Minister announced a new record of 415 cases last year alone.

Dr. Lalabalavu says with this new record, puts Fiji as one of the top two countries in the Asia-Pacific region with rapidly rising new HIV infections.

Article continues after advertisement

“The Ministry is finalizing the HIV Surge Strategy, which will facilitate our collaboration with health partners across government ministries and our communities to strengthen prevention, increase national HIV testing by 3% for key population groups, improve access to diagnosis and treatment, reduce stigma and discrimination relating to HIV and AIDS, and strengthen the governance of our HIV response program.”

The Minister also says his ministry is aware of the linkage between the use of illicit drugs in the country and the rise of HIV cases.

He says activities such as Blue Toothing for IV drug users and Chem-Sex amongst the younger population are fueling the rise in new HIV cases.

Dr. Lalabalavu also reminded Fijians that having HIV is not a death sentence.

He says that with treatment, people living with HIV can lead a normal and productive life and have children who are free of HIV infections.