The Pacific Commission on AIDS says HIV cannot be managed in isolation, but needs to be considered in the overall development context of the region.
That is a key recommendation in a report launched today by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York.
Don Wiseman has more:
"Turning the Tide: An OPEN strategy for a Response to AIDS in the Pacific, outlines the key challenges blocking the AIDS response and presents decisive steps countries in the region should take to protect their societies, cultures and economies from HIV. In addition, the report states that a one size fits all response does not suit the diversity of Pacific nations and outdated legislation criminalizing homosexuality and commercial sex is a major impediment in the region. Mr Ban says that punitive laws are a significant barrier to effective HIV prevention. He says countries in the region must repeal laws that fuel stigma and discrimination against men who have sex with men, sex workers and injecting drug users. The UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, says governments, civil society and people living with HIV must come together to scale up the AIDS movement that is informed by evidence and grounded in human rights. He adds that the AIDS response must become a catalyst to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the Pacific."