SPC Press Release
New Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV and other STIs for 2009-2013
Tuesday 29 April 2008, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia – Sexual behaviours, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the agenda of a five-day regional meeting taking place this week in Suva, Fiji Islands. The meeting is being organised and facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The participants are all members of an advisory body called the Regional Strategy Reference Group on HIV and other STIs, which has responsibility for developing and finalising the new Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV and other STIs (2009–2013) and the draft Pacific Regional Strategy Implementation Plan (2009–2013) (PRSIP II).
The Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV and its extension to STIs is one of only two multi-country HIV strategies in the world (the other covers the Caribbean region). It includes 22 countries and territories in the Pacific and is the result of an ongoing, coordinated and strategic collaboration among more than 35 partners, including UN agencies, regional agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donors and other development partners.
The first Regional Strategy Implementation Plan ends this year, but the momentum gained so far in the response to HIV in the region will continue: Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have agreed to extend the Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV for a further five years, from 2009 to 2013. The Forum Leaders have also agreed to amend the strategy to emphasise current and emerging trends impacting on the epidemic, including a general rise in STIs.
Opening the meeting today, SPC Deputy Director-General Falani Aukuso reminded participants that ‘We have the support of leaders of the region. Our challenge now is how to exact and harness that support at national level, and how to make it known that HIV is a threat to socio-economic development.’
Mr Aukuso also emphasised the importance of involving people living with HIV in advocacy and policy development, as well as the need to develop a clear framework for action. He added that further challenges would be to work collectively with the support from international development partners and to continue the mobilisation of resources and goodwill from all stakeholders.
Parallel to the extension of the Regional Strategy, the Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund has been launched as part of a multi-donor initiative to support the regional response to HIV.
To date, the Government of Australia has committed AUD 30 million to the fund over the period 2009–2013. In November 2007, the Board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) approved a Round 7 multi-country bid of USD 25 million for the Pacific region.
For more information, please contact Dr Dennie Iniakwala, HIV & STI Section Head, Public Health Programme, SPC, ph: +687 26 01 89, email
, or Nicole Gooch, HIV & STI Communications Officer, Public Health Programme, SPC, ph: + 687 26 67 71, email: