13 Jan 2011

Cooks government guarantees HIV confidentiality

4:07 pm on 13 January 2011

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, has committed to ensuring human rights standards are met when dealing with those with HIV.

The Cook Islands government had faced condemnation after health ministry officials sought legal advice about whether they could publicly identify the first person to test HIV positive in the country.

A cabinet meeting was held yesterday to address the HIV diagnosis.

The government was advised that disclosure of a person's information would provide significant discouragement to others coming forward for HIV testing.

Mr Puna says the government will work to ensure that discrimination based on HIV status does not occur in the Cook Islands.

He is urging Cook Islanders to get tested and says their confidentiality is protected.

Mr Puna says the government will work together with civil society to be vigorous in efforts of prevention and voluntary testing.