16 Apr 2007

Samoa's Misa Telefoni says human rights approach needed to tackle HIV

3:39 pm on 16 April 2007

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister, Misa Telefoni, people must be compassionate when dealing with those affected by HIV/Aids.

Misa was speaking at a United Nations sponsored Pacific HIV/Aids conference in Auckland, attended by more than 30 delegates from 15 countries.

Misa says if people have a good understanding of the disease then it is easier to deal with.

"Be very clear that the enemy is the illness, and not the victims, and I think the Human Rights approach is now recognised universally as the right approach, and the more you compassion you show for the victims the more successful HIV measures have been."

The Cook Islands deputy solicitor general Tan Elikana warns his country must continue to be vigilant about AIDS despite there being no recorded case in the Cooks.

Move away from this element of denial and really come to grip and understand that this is an issue that is not going to go away, and while it's not in the Cook Islands now you've got to look ahead.

The conference signed a joint statement endorsing their commitment to prioritise HIV/Aids issues.