PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will begin school visits in his capacity as Fiji's special representative on HIV and AIDS today with the schools in Vanua Levu.
Acting official secretary to the president's office, Pene Baleinabuli said after visiting Vanua Levu the President would visit the schools in the Maritime Provinces.
He says this year Ratu Epeli is expected to visit 60 secondary schools in Vanua Levu, Lau, Lomaiviti, Kadavu and the islands of Rotuma, Beqa and Naviti.
During his visit to the schools around the country last year, Ratu Epeli revealed that the number of new HIV cases had dropped in 2010 but rose again in 2011 and after examining data for the first six months of last year, he is adamant that the number of new HIV cases was definitely on the rise again.
The statistics revealed that in 2009 the number of new HIV cases recorded was 43 but decreased the following year with only 33 new cases recorded.
In 2011, the number jumped again with 53 new HIV cases and in the first six months of last year, 30 new cases were recorded.
Ratu Epeli said the response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic should start at home where parents should take the time about it.