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Fiji Time: 4:13 AM on Monday 21 April

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HIV cases increase

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

TWO people in the Western Division have died of AIDS this year.

This was confirmed by Dr Rahena Buksh of the Lautoka Reproductive Health Clinic.

She said apart from this, 11 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV were recorded in the west this year, taking the total number of those infected with the virus to 30.

Dr Buksh said sexual transmission was only one of the contributing factors to the spread of the virus and members of the public should be informed through increased awareness campaigns.

"With HIV there are many other issues involved. There is poverty, ignorance and then the unchanging desires and behaviour of men," said Dr Buksh.

"We need help from the HIV positive community to help us with the prevention and spread of HIV.

"The increase in new cases is mainly because more people are voluntarily coming to the centre for check-up and those found positive have been provided medication."

Dr Buksh said the Health Ministry and NGOs were committed to educating people on issues related to their health.

"We are beginning to see that the real solution entails education, economic growth and equality of dialogue between men and women," she said.

"There are concerted efforts towards reducing the burden of HIV infections. We have a commitment from our government to equip three specialist clinics in Fiji — the hub centres in Lautoka, Labasa and Suva — for HIV/ AIDS care.

"These clinics have free testing, free counselling, safe sex commodities and free medication.

"We also have a HIV Decree in Fiji to protect the rights of HIV positive people."