25 Jun 2013

American Samoa marks HIV testing week

3:06 pm on 25 June 2013

American Samoans are being cautioned not to be complacent about HIV/AIDS testing.

The chairman of a community group for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases says people shouldn't let their guard down just because the territory has recorded only one AIDS death.

Catholic priest Father Kelemete Pua'auli says the individual should be responsible for protecting themselves from HIV/AIDS and getting tested is a good start.

This week is national HIV testing week and there are hopes more people will be taking advantage of the free testing than the about 1100 who got tested last time around in 2011.

Father Kelemete says individuals should take responsibility for their own health.

"Just take the test and take control of yourself. What we are doing here is just not to scare people but to protect the health of our people. Since our island is very small and we are very family oriented and close, we need to look after one another but you have to take care and look after yourself first, and be honest and be truthful."

A Catholic priest in American Samoa, Father Kelemete Pua'auli