OF the 493 people living with HIV/AIDS registered in the past four years in Fiji, 85 per cent contracted the disease through heterosexual sex while 2.5 per cent were transmitted through male to male sex.
Speaking during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in Labasa Sangam College on Tuesday, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said a further 0.2 per cent of the total contracted the disease through the use of needles while 5.5 per cent were through prenatal transmission or vertical transmission.
He said within the first quarter of 2013, 11 new cases were reported taking the cumulative total of people living with the disease around the country to 493.
"A recent study of the observed rates available from 1989 to 2011 that was extrapolated to 2020 and the expected cases calculated using the UN population projections for Fiji reveal that the HIV epidemic is still in the exponential growth phase and is not showing any signs of leveling off," he said.
Ratu Epeli said the Oceanic region recorded 63 cases of HIV transmission between mother and child — also known as vertical transmission — in the past four years.