EIGHT CONFIRMED CASES OF HIV IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

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By Robert L. Iroga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 28) – Two more people have been confirmed HIV positive as Solomon Islands’ tally hits eight.

However, the Solomon Islands National AIDS Council has warned that people should not be complacent about the statistic because based on estimates it could mean that unofficially there are now 150 cases.

The two new infections were declared by the vice-chairman of Solomon Islands National AIDS Council Dr George Malefoasi during a recent meeting.

Dr Malefoasi said people shouldn’t see the small numbers and just do nothing.

He said in actual fact based on estimates "we could have 150 cases" now.

Solomon Islands recorded its first case in 1994, then waited until 2004 when five cases were reported. Since then three have died of AIDS.

Solomon Islands National AIDS Council has recently beefed up its activities outlining key strategic results areas (challenges) and its national HIV response aims at achieving:

Reduction of risk-behavior and vulnerability to HIV and STIs

Enhance voluntary counseling and testing for HIV as an entry point for confidential prevention and treatment services for STIs and AIDS (including ensuring blood safety..

Enhance HIV/ STI surveillance, Treatment and Care.

To enhance capacity building for the national HIV response at both the community and institutional level.

Ensure sustainable development to enable an environment for behavioral change, de-stigmatization and against discrimination impacting on prevention and care.

Solomon Islands National AIDS Council has taken a multi-sectoral approach in its efforts to address the disease with the induction of new members recently.

Among Solomon Islands National AIDS Council’s next step is to complete, National HIV Operational Plans 2007 (All partners) and National HIV Response Review.

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