12 Nov 2005

ADB approves US$8m grant to fight HIV/Aids in Pacific

8:14 am on 12 November 2005

The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$8 million grant to boost the fight against AIDS in 10 Pacific countries.

The lending organisation, which is based in the Philippines, says the money will improve the delivery of HIV/Aids prevention services in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The project aims to help the countries to develop the skills of health workers to identify risk factors and vulnerable sectors of the population, as well as design and deliver surveillance programmes.

The Asian Development Bank says the region is vulnerable to HIV/Aids owing to the high presence of sexually transmitted diseases, low levels of condom use, high levels of mobility and various cultural and sexual taboos.

The bank says there are more than 11,000 HIV infections in the 10 countries, but it notes that the figure could be up to 10 times higher given the low levels of surveillance in these areas.