12 Apr 2007

Regional leaders urged to learn from Africa in fight against HIV

1:33 pm on 12 April 2007

A UN-sponsored conference on HIV/AIDS being held in Auckland has called on health ministers and attorney generals in the Pacific to apply the lessons learnt from Africa.

Justice Michael Kirby of Australia has told the meeting that the Pacific region no longer has the luxury of living in denial about the problem.

Justice Kirby says some strategies for combating HIV such as promotion and knowledge of condoms and decriminalisation of sex workers were controversial and therefore often given less priority.

Another delegate, Jacqui Badcock, who is based in Papua New Guinea, says the Pacific is following the global trend in which women and girls are disproportionately affected by HIV.

Dr Badcock says the reluctance of countries and individuals to embrace gender equality in thought, law, policies and social institutions is reflected in the way HIV affects women and girls.