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Fiji Time: 1:34 AM on Friday 25 April

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Women bear blame for HIV

Frederica Elbourne
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PACIFIC men top the list of HIV cases in the region, a report has revealed.

But women are blamed for HIV transmission, a study by the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation has pointed out.

The purpose of the report was to give voice to women living with HIV.

Titled "Experiences and Perspectives of Women Living with HIV in Fiji and Papua New Guinea", the 111-page report involved accounts of eight infected people in Fiji.

The report aims to offer an improved HIV response where the dignity of each and every woman and man is respected and protected.

"By paying attention to the experiences of these Pacific women, whose lives were dramatically changed on the day when they found out that they were HIV-positive, this study expands upon the knowledge and data on HIV in the Pacific Islands region," the report said.

The Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation said it initiated the study in 2008 to mobilise women's groups and women's rights activists, because it believed the time was right for women to take more ownership of the HIV response.

"This study also aims to mobilise decision makers, health care workers, churches and community groups by providing them with recommendations to direct actions aimed at improving the life conditions of our Pacific women, mothers and grandmothers.

"The absence or inadequacy of support will continue to expose more and more of our people to HIV and limit the hopes of HIV-positive Pacific women to gain or regain a sense of happiness, dignity and peace," the PIAF said.