12 Jan 2011

Cook Islands government discusses fate of HIV-infected person

4:33 am on 12 January 2011

The Cook Islands government is facing international condemnation for its treatment of the first person to test HIV positive in the country.

Ministers are meeting today to discuss what to do with the foreign worker.

Health ministry officials in the Cook Islands sought legal advice about whether they could publicly identify the person, but backed down after health groups intervened.

HIV campaigners are now worried by a suggestion from the Prime Minister, Henry Puna, that the person be quarantined or deported.

The National HIV Committee and the Pacific Islands Aids Foundation say such treatment will deter others from getting tested for the virus.

Amnesty International New Zealand says it will be writing to the Cook Islands Prime Minister to spell out possible human rights violations.