Health Minister also remembers people who had succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqanabete launches the Child Health Services and Fiji Adolescent Health Services Strategic Plan during the World Aids Day Celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Park yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

AS the nation yesterday celebrated World AIDS Day, Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete believes it was important that we also remember those that have succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses, many of whom died because they were not able to access treatment or due to stigma and discrimination.

He also acknowledged all those families that had accepted their loved ones who had been diagnosed positive.

As a nation, Dr Waqainabete said Fiji had made significant progress in combating the disease where the first diagnosed case of 1989 was still alive and living life to the fullest.

“To address the rising number of HIV cases in Fiji, the ministry of health and medical services has embarked towards the global strategy of 90, 90, 90. Where we wanting to test 90 per cent of our population, of which we want 90 per cent on treatment and hoping to see that 90 per cent of those on treatment¬†are¬†virally suppressed. Where testing becomes the gateway to treatment, and effective treatment is a great HIV prevention tool, it saves lives and prevents HIV transmission.

“Apart from the Government’s commitment to HIV, we have in Fiji our partners who significantly contribute to our efforts in curbing the issues of STI’s and HIV. Some such partners are WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNAIDS, SPC, UNFPA, other government and non-organizations, civil society, faith-based organisations and most importantly the Fiji Network of Positive people.

“Their support includes but is not limited to funding, technical but also preventative program implementation at the community,” he said.

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