The Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibé will be visiting Fiji this week to look at progress made to address HIV/AIDS both in the country and the region.
Whilst in the country, Mr Sidibé will meet with His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and officials at UN agencies in Suva.
Mr Sidibé’s visit to Fiji marks an important chapter in the progressive steps undertaken by the Fijian government to address HIV/AIDS.
While Fiji is classified as a low HIV prevalence country, its commitment to addressing this virus has seen an allocation of financial and capital resources to address this issue. In 2009 alone, Fiji spent a total of US$2.1 million on its AIDS response.
In 2011, Fiji became the first country in the Pacific region to eliminate laws restricting travel of people infected with HIV/AIDS, and passed the HIV/AIDS Decree as part of committing to human rights for those with the virus and to ensure that Fiji meets its own Millennium Development Goals or MDGs.
“In order to address the MDG's HIV/AIDS goal, the Fijian Government approved a new law this that, amongst other things, safeguards the privacy and rights of persons infected or affected by HIV”, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said.
“The HIV/AIDS Decree is based on the United Nations International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS, and on the Declaration of Commitment to a human rights based approach to dealing with the epidemic.”
This law has been acknowledged both locally and internationally as one of the most progressive HIV laws in the world.