24 Mar 2005

Solomons Aids Council fears nearing spike in number of HIV/Aids cases

1:40 pm on 24 March 2005

The authorities in Solomon Islands fear an approaching spike in the number of HIV/Aids cases.

The health minister, Benjamin Una, yesterday launched a national five-year plan to fight the disease.

The first case was reported in 1995, and at the beginning of last year five people were confirmed with HIV/Aids.

The National Aids Council member Dr George Malefoasi says now there are at least six confirmed cases, and up to 60 people could be infected.

"It is no difference from, from our neighbouring countries, like Fiji and Papua New Guinea: They start very low, and then it suddenly peak and once it peak it goes up, so there is a same kind of pattern that we're seeing."

Dr Malefoasi says under the plan, community organisations will get more support to work directly with youth and young girls involved in prostitution.

He says officials already have an idea of the problem areas of sexual promiscuity, as they build a clear picture of the spread of the virus.

Dr Malefoasi says Solomon Islands doesn't have the resources to deal with the outbreak but hopes to strengthen its defences.