Putting the Pacific back into the Asia-Pacific Region when it comes to HIV testing

New HIV test recommendations specially designed for Pacific Island countries and territories have just been released by SPC and key regional partners.

 

Dr Dennie Iniakwala, SPC’s HIV & STI Section Head, said the recommendations were a ‘breakthrough in so far as they are a move away from the one-size-fits-all international programming’.

‘For the first time, regional organisations have agreed on detailed steps to advise on expanding HIV testing that reflect the uniqueness of Pacific conditions,’ said Dr Iniakwala. ‘Thanks to these recommendations, we’ll be able to make faster progress in scaling up HIV testing in the region.’

A technical meeting to draft the recommendations was convened on 5 and 6 May 2008 by SPC in Pago Pago, with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA (CDC), Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM), Australian National Serology Reference Laboratory (NRL), and other key regional agencies. The meeting was hosted by the Government of American Samoa.

A ‘HIV testing task force’ was set up during the meeting to ensure Pacific Island countries and territories get the support they need to implement the recommendations. The task force includes technical experts from the regional and international agencies involved in drafting the recommendations.

More HIV testing and counselling is crucial if the Pacific is to effectively manage what is a rapidly growing international problem. At this point, the Pacific is still in a position to prevent a widespread HIV epidemic developing in the way it has in other countries.

The HIV testing task force will be working with countries and territories on smoothing out the process and expanding HIV testing to facilities such as ante-natal and STI clinics and stand-alone counselling and testing services.

Dr Iniakwala said that ‘with 21 diverse countries to consider the taskforce has a challenging job ahead, but it’s great to be moving on this.’

 



Click here
to download the ‘Recommendations for expanding HIV testing in the Pacific’.

 

For more information, contact Anna McNulty,
STI Adviser, HIV & STI Section, SPC,
ph: +687 26 54 72,
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

For media enquiries, please contact Nicole Gooch,
Communications Officer, HIV & STI Section, SPC
ph: +687 26 67 71,
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
   

 

 CRGA

 

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