17th December 05:49 AM
People living with the HIV/AIDS still face reality of stigma and discrimination
By Rusiate Baleilevuka
Sunday 03/12/2017
Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Alex O’Connor

It is unfortunate that stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the HIV/AIDS and the onus is on us to arm ourselves with the knowledge to get out and provide information to our community members.

Those were the words of Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Alex O’Connor while speaking to the people of Namatakula Village in Nadroga as they celebrated the 2017 World AIDS Day.

O’Connor says that 35 million lives have been lost around the world due to HIV.

He says as of today, more than 300 adults and children are on anti-retroviral treatment all over Fiji and are being followed up at hub centers and the three divisional hospitals.

He adds that men who have sex with men, people who inject themselves with drugs, people in prisons, sex workers and transgender people are at increased risk of HIV irrespective of epidemic type or local context. 

O’Connor says that key populations often have legal and social issues related to their behaviour that increase vulnerability to HIV and reduce access to testing and treatment programmes.

In 2015, global leaders signed up to the sustainable development goals, with the aim to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. 

This universal health coverage framework now lies at the centre of all health programmes.

The Assistant Minister says many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment and now we have laws to protect people living with HIV.  

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