18 Jan 2005

Fiji HIV rate feared far higher than reported

4:24 pm on 18 January 2005

A women's rights activist in Fiji says the number of HIV cases in the country could already be in the thousands, much higher than the official figure of 174.

Peni Moore, who is the Creative Director for the Suva based group Women's Action for Change, told a news conference it was a mathematical probability HIV cases are already thousands strong.

She estimates there are more than 1,000 prostitutes in Suva alone with 2,000 in the country as a whole.

Ms. Moore says problems start when young girls from poor households suffer from what she describes as low self-esteem.

Women's Action For Change uses theatre to act out stories told by Fiji women and to suggest alternatives to prostitution.