11 Jul 2003

Fiji health authorities say no link between STD incidence and major events

4:00 pm on 11 July 2003

Fiji's Ministry of Health has slammed as wrong media reports suggesting there is a sharp rise of sexual transmitted diseases after big events.

The Fiji Times had quoted Sister Sera Waqa of the STD Unit as saying the usual trend after big gatherings such as the Hibiscus Festivaland the annual Methodist Conference was for a surge in infections.

The claim angered the Methodist Church, whose church's general secretary, the Rev Jone Lagi, told the Fiji Times it is strongly opposed to immoral conduct.

And the Aids Project Officer Dr Jiko Luweni says the health statistics also don't support the claim.

"If the statement is true that there is an increase in STIs during the Hibiscus and the Conference, then the number of new infections in September should correlate with that statement, but it doesn't"

She says the Hibiscus Festival is held the same month as the Methodist Church conference and other events in August.

But statistics show consecutively for the last four years April has been the month with the biggest rise of STDs in Fiji.