11 Jan 2011

Suggestions of quarantining or deporting Cooks HIV patient won't stop spread

8:50 am on 11 January 2011

There's disappointment at statements from the Cook Islands Prime Minister which raise the possibility of quarantining or deporting the first person to test HIV positive in the country.

Prime Minister Henry Puna has told the Cook Island News that while the government will accept the advice of the National HIV committee not to identify the person at present, the case for protecting the public is equally compelling.

Mr Puna says questions need to be asked such as whether quarantining the person would ensure they do not infect other people.

Heather Worth, from the International HIV Group at the University of New South Wales says its understandable the Prime Minister wants to control the spread of the disease.

But she says the measures the Prime Minister's suggesting won't work.

"All attempts at draconian measures to control the spread of HIV such as quarantining, deporting, imprisoning and so on have been disastrous. And the reason they've been disasters is that they actually deter people from testing for HIV if they're at risk."