21 Aug 2008

Cook Islands Health Minister says isolating people with HIV/AIDs won't work

1:17 pm on 21 August 2008

The Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minster and Health Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, says the idea of isolating people infected with HIV/AIDS will not work.

The creation of colonies for people living with the disease is being promoted by Niue's health director, Dr Sitaleki Finau.

Sir Terepai says he has seen examples of when lepers have been segregated into a compound and says it was useless calling it isolation because they still had contact with their familes.

"There is no legally binding legislation to make sure that that isolation is secure and takes the definition of isolation. So to me, that was a useless exercise. And we know also, from any isolation, people will break the rules and there is no way we can stop that kind of thing."

Sir Terepai Maoate says the Cook Islands is committed to supporting the World Health Organisation in its HIV/AIDS campaign.