UNAIDS is holding a three-day consultation in Nadi with government and civil society organisations representatives from seven Pacific nations.
The meeting between representatives from Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu is reviewing laws and policies which impact on human rights-based health programming initiatives and the rights of people living with HIV.
Opening the meeting, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said punitive laws, policies and practices hamper access to HIV-related services across Asia and the Pacific.
UNAIDS said almost all Pacific nations had laws and policies which contributed to the obstruction of rights of people living with HIV and key affected populations. Ratu Epeli said many Pacific countries had laws and practices that criminalised people living with HIV and key affected populations.
The seven nations are following up commitments made at the United Nations General Assembly (2011) and through the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2010, 2011) to review laws and policies that adversely affect the successful delivery of HIV services to people living with HIV.