World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Parliamentarians must lead fight against HIV

Parliamentarians must lead fight against HIV

Toronto, 15 August- In the words of PNG’s Minister for Social Welfare, Dame Carol Kidu, the Pacific is the missing region at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, with Africa being the focus of everyone’s attention.

But on the third day of the biggest ever international gathering of people engaged in fighting HIV, Pacific representatives addressed a captivated audience as they discussed the accountability of parliamentarians in the response to HIV.

“The Pacific could in theory show the way – if we combine our traditional strengths with proactive, interactive leadership we can make a difference. But will we, or will we be too late?” asked Dame Kidu. “HIV is increasingly being debated in Parliament, but often the debate is polarized by emotional and moralistic judgments rather than analysis of the social, developmental and public health issues.”

As Dame Kidu noted, “PNG has led the Pacific region in terms of legislation relating to HIV, but legislation alone will not change the reality on the ground. Strong political commitment, community engagement and ownership of the issue are fundamental to protecting our women and children from the real impact.”

PNG now has a more than 11,340 (2004 SPC estimates) living with HIV. According to Dame Kidu, a tragic emerging pattern of transmission is through young girls having sex with older men – ‘the 4 M factor: mobile men with money and multiple partners’.

Dame Kidu is also concerned about the social stigma attached to the disease and the need to attribute blame, which has lead to community silence on torture and sorcery-related killings of women.

The number of orphans is growing, while sexual abuse makes children very vulnerable to HIV. Poverty means that they often have to help support their families and travel alone to markets, exposing them to greater risks and reducing their access to education.

“There is still much legislative work to be done – our laws on prostitution, abortion and homosexuality, for instance, date from archaic British laws inherited from the Queensland Criminal Code and never amended since Independence,” said Dame Carol Kidu.

For Fiji’s Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, retired politician and UNAIDS Special Representative to the Pacific, “Pacific Island countries and territories are at a turning point in the response to HIV and we must react before HIV jeopardizes our languages and cultures. Parliamentarians have a Herculean task ahead of them and it is time to abandon complacency.”

Ratu Nailatikau argued that lessons have already been learnt in other regions of the world that the Pacific has yet to learn. “Pacific leaders must face their commitments and admit that we will have a disaster on our hands if we don’t immediately combine all our efforts.”


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news