SECOND CASE OF HIV/AIDS CONFIRMED IN VANUATU

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By Shirley Joy

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 12) - A report by the South Pacific Commission revealed recently that Vanuatu now has two confirmed HIV/AIDS cases.

The report that was presented at the Forum Officials Committee meeting by the Deputy Secretary General of the SPC Dr. Jimmy Rogers reportedly shocked senior Vanuatu officials attending the meeting.

Both the Director General Myriam Abel and her Acting could not be reached for comments on the report, as they were both out of town on official duties.

Vanuatu’s first HIV case was revealed in 2002.

Officials returning from the 35th South Pacific Forum meeting, particularly the Deputy Prime Minister, also expressed shock and openly invited the Ministry of Health and the Vila Central Hospital to come out publicly and confirm the report and urged the need to find better ways to address the problem and to assist the victims.

The report, commissioned by the Nouméa-based South Pacific Commission, provided a comprehensive data and information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the SPC region.

Dr. Rogers also told the meeting that a new regional HIV/AIDS Strategy has been developed to guide the responses of the region to the pandemic during the next five years.

In order to protect Pacific peoples from HIV infection, this new regional strategy strongly advocates a regional approach of tackling the disease and developing effective responses to HIV/AIDS.

August 13, 2004

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