Long-Time Samoan HIV/AIDS Campaigner Passes Away

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Peati worked to reduce stigma of disease

By Sarai Ripine

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 31, 2015) – A mother of two who publicly declared her HIV/AIDS condition passed away.

After being admitted to the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital on Monday 25 May, Mrs Peati Iupeli, passed away peacefully at 10p.m. on Thursday night 28 May.

She was 60 years old. This was confirmed by her youngest sister Mataia Kapeneta and her brother Maiava Vena yesterday.

"She was a strong person and a hard working mother who always fought for good things for the betterment of her family," said Kapeneta.

"She wanted everything to be perfect and clean. We miss her so much, she was a very gentle mother" said brother Vena.

One of Peati’s qualities that would be hard to forget her family said, was her ability to remain calm under pressure.

That ability was certainly required when Peati first lost her husband Manu Samoa captain Malaki Iupeli to the virus and later, her baby. In the aftermath of the news about HIV, she also lost her job.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Talamua Peati worked tirelessly ‘to break the cultural barriers and stigma against the disease.’]

Vena said they were well aware of her situation and that there would come a day when she would get the calling from God. So her departure was never really a surprise although she is dearly missed by her family, friends and close relatives.

Peati was a Red Cross HIV Ambassador and ran a support group for People living with HIV who she embraced with her love and a commitment to help educate locals about HIV. She has been an active campaigner on local TV and other media for awareness programmes about HIV and also participated in many international and regional forums about the preventive and public educational programmes on HIV/AIDS.

She is survived by her son Natal.

Her last farewell service will be held on Friday next week.

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