3 Jun 2002

Fears for the Pacific effort to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS

4:55 pm on 3 June 2002

Health campaigners in the Pacific are concerned about the future of HIV/AIDS work in the region after the HIV/AIDS and STD bureau at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community closed last week.

The SPC project worked to produce and disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention information and provided technical assistance on how to run AIDS education and prevention programmes to Pacific countries.

People working in the HIV/AIDS sector are critical of the SPC allowing its project to grind to a halt.

But SPC public health program manager, Dr Mark Jacobs, says the project has been completed and its funding from the Australian development aid bureau, AusAID, has run out.

A new AusAID funded regional project in which the SPC is expected to participate, is currently in the pipeline.

However it is unlikely to get off the ground for at least a year.

Dr Jacobs says he is not yet sure what the exact role of the SPC will be in the new project.

He expects AusAID to give some indication of the SPC's role later this month.