Fiji faces uphill battle with HIV-Xinhua

Fiji faces uphill battle with HIV

Source: Xinhua| 2024-03-11 17:06:15|Editor: huaxia

SUVA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Health Ministry faces an uphill battle with the increasing number of cases of HIV and AIDS, as Fiji recorded an alarming 415 new HIV cases in 2023 compared to 245 cases in 2022.

According to the Global AIDS Monitoring Report, Fiji is now one of the top two countries in the Asia-Pacific region with rapidly rising new HIV infections.

Health Minister Atonio Lalabalavu said in the Fijian Parliament on Monday that out of these cases last year, 404 are adults, while 11 cases are children, reported Fijivillage News.

Lalabalavu said three of the children got HIV through sexual transmission, while eight other children got HIV/AIDS through mother-to-child transmission.

Of the total number of patients being diagnosed, 31 are teenagers aged from 15 to 19.

The Health Ministry is aware of the linkage between the use of illicit drugs in the country and the rise of HIV cases, Lalabalavu said.

He added that activities such as bluetoothing for intravenous drug users and chemsex amongst the younger population are fueling the rise in new HIV cases.

The practice of "bluetoothing" is withdrawing blood after a drug hit and injecting it into a second person.

The minister noted that unsafe sexual practices and the use of injectable drugs are contributing to the rise of HIV in Fiji.