KIRIBATI MP WANTS DETENTION CENTER FOR AIDS PATIENTS

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TARAWA, Kiribati (July 1, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Kiribati)---A member of the Kiribati Parliament has called on the Government to set aside one of the country’s uninhabited islands as a detention center for all people who have been tested positive for HIV and AIDS.

To detect new cases, he also wants all I-Kiribati to be required to take a blood test.

Baitong Taburimai, an MP for Abemama Island in the Central Gilberts Group, told parliamentarians that the incurable disease has established itself firmly in Kiribati and it is time for the Government to take "drastic measures" to confront the disease and prevent a national disaster.

He said educating the people of Kiribati about the dangers and prevention of HIV and AIDS is not the only way to safeguard people's lives.

Taburimai said setting up a detention center would help isolate people who have contracted the disease and act as a reminder to all I-Kiribati that sexual perversion and permissiveness has no place in Kiribati society.

The MP said no mercy should be shown or given to people who have AIDS and then intentionally infect other people.

According to the latest figures compiled by UNAIDS, a joint United Nations, South Pacific Community and World Health Organization program on HIV/AIDS, 28 people in Kiribati have the HIV virus. Four have full-blown AIDS.

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