Low Condom Use in Fiji Contributing to Increasing Number of HIV Cases, WHO Official Says
Low condom use is contributing to the increasing number of HIV cases in Fiji, World Health Organization representative in the South Pacific Chen Ken said recently, the Fiji Times reports. Interim Health Minister Jona Senilagakali last month said eight new cases of HIV/AIDS were reported to Fiji's Ministry of Health between January and March, bringing the total to 244 reported cases. According to a survey conducted in Fiji in 2004, 28.4% of men said that they have received an HIV test and knew the result. About 24.4% of the men correctly identified routes of HIV transmission and rejected misconceptions about the virus. The survey also found that 7.7% of survey participants reported having used a condom during sex. According to Chen, the survey indicated that Fiji has improved its HIV testing and counseling services, but the proportion of people with sexually transmitted infections, particularly pregnant women, is high. He added that other factors have fueled the spread of HIV in the country, including the low number of people being tested, high prevalence of STIs and high-risk commercial sex practices. To spread awareness about HIV/AIDS in Fiji, WHO has established strategies and provided support to the country's health ministry, according to Chen (Fiji Times, 4/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.