2 Dec 2014

Work needed on Aids testing in region

7:18 am on 2 December 2014

The UNAIDS Pacific Coordinator says testing and treatment for HIV/aids sufferers in the region needs a lot of work.

Tim Rwabuhemba says while there are relatively low rates of the disease in the Pacific, more can be done by health professionals.

He says the success should be celebrated on World Aids Day and can be attributed to work done by civil society groups, increased education and advocacy and leadership from prominent people in the community.

However Fiji has had 35 new HIV/aids cases over the past year and there is still a high prevalence in Papua New Guinea's sex industry with close to 1 in 5 workers carrying the disease.

Mr Rwabuhemba says there can still be improvements.

"Carrying out basic services such as testing and treatment. That is something that needs to be really worked on across the board for the entire Pacific. Ensuring the services that the people need are accessible. For example the treatment or coverage rates are still very low. Very low levels of testing for HIV for example in pregnant women."

Tim Rwabuhemba