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Pacific HIV response gets international attention

Friday 22 November 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji -

His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of the Republic of Fiji delivering the opening address at the ICAAP Pacific satellite session in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday 20th November 2013.

A packed Pacific satellite session at the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bangkok, Thailand this week catapulted Pacific perspectives, data and successes onto the international stage.

His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of the Republic of Fiji, opened the session entitled ‘The Pacific voyage: the five year response to HIV and other STIs and a glimpse beyond 2013’ while Ms Joey Joleen Mataele, Tonga Leitis Association President, astounded all by singing the opening prayer in a strong, operatic voice.


Nine speakers from across the Pacific, including three from SPC’s Public Health Division, participated in the session, which featured the latest data on HIV epidemiology in the Pacific, and the successful rollout of rapid HIV testing, enabling faster diagnosis of HIV in all targeted Pacific Island Countries and Territories.


‘In the last 5 years, the smaller countries of the Pacific and its larger sister nation Papua New Guinea have responded to both the HIV and STI epidemics in a structured and considered manner, tackling the behavioural, social, cultural, legislative, health systems and economic factors that drive or hamper our responses to both HIV or STI epidemics,’ said H. E. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.


‘This satellite session pulls together some of the work that has been done both in Papua New Guinea and the smaller island nations of the Pacific. We share our stories with you today in a celebration of our united efforts and to offer you the new direction and the approach that the Pacific will take in addressing what we consider to be the key challenges facing our people,’ he said.


The Pacific satellite session was organised by the Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM) and made possible due to support from the Australian aid programme and the Pacific Islands HIV and STI Response Fund. The topics and speakers are included below.


 

  • Rapid diagnosis of HIV infections in Pacific Island Countries and Territories – Tebuka Toatu, SPC
  • Keeping Pacific Island countries HIV free – Ian Wanyeki, SPC
  • Adherence, Side-effects and Support: Experiences of Treatments among People Living with HIV in the Pacific Islands, Hilary Gorman, Cook Islands National HIV, STI & TB Committee
  • The Role of People Living with HIV in the Pacific HIV Response – Rebecca Kubu, Pacific Positive Working Group
  • Church Beliefs and Professional Practice: How Christian Health Workers Respond to HIV in PNG– Lalen Simeon and Christopher M. Sohenalo’e, Pacific Adventist University, PNG
  • OSSHHM Pasifika Training-of-Trainer programme on HIV and STIs: a south-south collaboration – Jason Mitchell, OSSHHM
  • Foreskin Cutting Practices and the Acceptability of Male Circumcision for HIV prevention in PNG - Rachael Tommbe and David MacLaren, Pacific Adventist University/ James Cook University
  • The Pacific Regional Sexual Health Shared Agenda 2014 - 2018: Achieving Zero - Michelle O’Connor, SPC
  • PNG HIV Epidemic: an Update and the Way Forward – Dr Moala Robert Kariko, Papua New Guinea AIDS Council Secretariat

 


For more information please contact Ms Jacinta Isaacs, SPC Strategic Health Communication Officer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jean-Noel Royer, SPC Assistant Communications Officer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photo caption: His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of the Republic of Fiji delivering the opening address at the ICAAP Pacific satellite session in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday 20th November 2013.