27 May 2010

Tuvalu rejects notion of HIV spreading

5:57 pm on 27 May 2010

Tuvalu's health ministry says the spread of HIV in the country is not out of control.

UNICEF recently highlighted concern over 11 eleven cases of HIV in a population of about 10,000, giving Tuvalu a high per capita infection rate.

But the Director of Health in Tuvalu, Dr Stephen Homasi, says that is the total number of people recorded with the virus since 1995, and no new cases appeared last year.

"We have a very good programme going for people who are living with HIV already. We've got services available for them. We've got drugs that are supplied free of charge to these people. And also all the support services in terms of counselling, and family support. We have a very strong clinical team, so there's nothing really to worry about in terms of availability of services for those who are affected or infected by HIV."

Dr Homasi says while it is important for people in small island states to be aware of the AIDS threat, Tuvalu has a well coordinated service to cope with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.