14 Oct 2004

Lawyers from throughout the Pacific gather to discuss how to update HIV/AIDS laws

5:23 pm on 14 October 2004

Lawyers from six Pacific nations have been gathering in Fiji to discuss how to update laws surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The two-day conference is looking at how to prevent discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS and is looking at introducing laws to make it compulsory to test pregnant women for the disease.

The HIV/AIDS project officer for Fiji's ministry of health, Dr Jiko Luveni, says discrimination is hindering their efforts to tackle the problem.

"Within the workplace and within the community. We've identified that discrimination and stigmatisation is the major barrier towards the success of our prevention programmes."

The two day event comes as a three-day parliamentary conference on the disease has just been wrapped up in Suva.

The one hundred delegates from all the Pacific Island nations discussed ways to better improve the understanding of the disease and how to tackle it.

It culminated with the signing of the Suva Declaration for Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS.