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BRISBANE, Australia (June 24, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Participants in the first Oceania Region Conference of the World Association of Press Councils have been told that the disease AIDS, and the virus that leads to it - HIV, are strengthening their hold in the Pacific.

Trevor Cullen from the University of Queensland said a refusal by news editors to report the matter, could have helped the disease to spread.

He said there are many reasons the issue is not being documented:

"One problem actually is cultural," Cullen noted.

"Unfortunately HIV AIDS is being framed very narrowly, as if it's just related to sex and, particularly, deviant sexual behavior. So editors find it quite difficult to talk about that type of issue.

"Also (there are) commercial pressures. It's a difficult story," he said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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