15 Feb 2006

Fiji's national advisor on family health disagrees with compulsory HIV testing of prisoners

11:22 am on 15 February 2006

The Fiji Ministry of Health says it does not support a call for the compulsory testing for HIV-Aids of all prisoners entering the corrections system.

The medical officer for four Fiji prisons, Dr Aiyas Saleem, says prisoners testing positive for the HIV virus could then be isolated.

But the ministry's national advisor on family health, Dr Josiah Famuela, whose responsibilities cover HIV-Aids in the community, says he disagrees with compulsory testing.

"We're looking at a human rights issue here. We all have equal rights. Prisoners come into the system on the basis they have committed a crime but it doesn't mean that their rights are removed."

Fiji's National Advisor on Family Health, Dr Josiah Famuela.

But Dr Saleem says the other prisoners and prison guards also have rights to be protected from getting HIV.

His recommendation is in a report to parliament which is considering changes to the prison and corrections bill.