7 Jan 2011

Cooks government to protect HIV carrier's identity

1:12 pm on 7 January 2011

The Cook Islands government has decided not to identify the first person to test positive for HIV in the country.

The decision follows criticism that the government had initially sought legal advice over whether to identify the HIV positive resident.

The Health Minister Nandi Glassie now admits the decision should have been clearcut from the outset.

But he says when he was first appointed minister last month the issue was controversial

"It should be quite clearcut, that's specifically because I was given different point of views, the protection, or the public safety is also just as important, until I was properly advised by my advisors, both legal and community people that the confidentiality of the person is extremely important."

There has also been concern that details about the HIV positive person that could make them easier to identify have been leaked to the media.

But Nandi Glassie says there has been no breach of confidentiality from within the Ministry of Health.