Pacific Leaders Adopt HIV/AIDS Strategy Focusing on Prevention, Education
The leaders of 16 Pacific Island nations attending the annual Pacific Islands Forum on Friday adopted a regional HIV/AIDS strategy that aims to curb the spread of the disease in the region, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. In a six-page statement issued by the leaders at the summit, which was held near the Samoan capital Apia, Pacific political leaders included a resolution on HIV/AIDS, saying that there is a "need to address vigorously this most urgent issue," according to AFP/Yahoo! News. The strategy calls on leaders to make "strong commitments" to prevention methods, including HIV/AIDS education and the promotion of condom use and partner responsibility, as well as to engage in "transparent" and "concerted public discussion" of HIV/AIDS, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said that although HIV/AIDS had not reached "epidemic proportions" in the Pacific, a new strategy to fight the disease in the region is "urgently needed," according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 8/7). "AIDS right now is a disease we cannot cure and the cost of the advanced AIDS drugs is really beyond the capability of small developing countries to meet," Clark said, adding, "The main emphasis has to go on sex education. How that is approached will differ from country to country" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 8/8). According to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele, who chaired the forum, summit participants "strongly" supported the HIV/AIDS strategy, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "We recognize that it is a very serious issue," Sailele said. The forum included participants from Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomons, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (AFP/Yahoo! News, 8/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.