A DECADE OF HIV TRANSMISSION IN FIJI:

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PACIFIC AIDS/HIV REPORTS Durban, South Africa 2000

RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS

K. Kishore Fiji School of Medicine, PMB, Suva, Fiji

Objective: To analyze all the reported HIV cases in Fiji in order to determine the disease pattern, its distribution among different races, gender, age groups, and also assess the modes of transmission.

Methods: Laboratory testing for HIV began in 1987 in light of the possible transmission of HIV from population and tourist movement in and out of the country, and reported incidences of HIV in the neighboring countries. Initial ELISA tests were performed in Fiji using the commercially available Serodia kit. Every positive sample was first repeated at the central lab at the CWM hospital, and sent for confirmation through Western Blot test performed in Australia. Blood samples for HIV tests during this period were obtained through mandatory screening of all blood donors and antenatal patients. Additionally, other individuals were tested as suggested by suspicious clinical presentations from different outpatients and wards (e.g. gynecology clinics, etc.). Available data from the laboratory records included date of provisional diagnosis, age, sex, ethnicity, and mode of transmission.

Results: Since identifying the first case in March 1989 there have been 50 positive HIV cases through December 1999. In addition, 3 samples sent for confirmation awaits results. Approximately 81% of cases were among males between the ages of 20 and 39 years. Ethnic distribution was approximately 69% ethnic Fijian, 24% Fiji-Indians and remaining 7% cases were from the other races. Suspected mode of transmission was approximately 69% heterosexual transmission and 16% homosexual transmission. There were 3 cases infected through perinatal transmission, and a single case each infected through IV drug use and through transfusion. Approximately 4 cases per year have been identified over the 10-year period from 1989 to 1999.

Conclusions: HIV infections have been identified in Fiji from 1989 and have primarily involved male Fijians between the ages of 20 and 39 infected through heterosexual transmission. While other modes of transmission exist in Fiji (e.g. homosexual, IV drug use, transfusion, and perinatal) heterosexual transmission appears to be dominant.

Presenting author: K. Kishore, Fiji School of Medicine, PMB, Suva, Fiji, Tel.: +679 311 700, Fax: +679 303 469, E-mail: kamal@fsm.ac.fj 

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