24 Oct 2003

Pacific Red Cross representatives aim to fight stigma over HIV/AIDS

4:44 pm on 24 October 2003

Promoting awareness about HIV/AIDS has been high on the agenda at a meeting of Pacific Red Cross representatives in Nuku'alofa this week

The meeting to discuss ways of improving emergency and disaster management is just the second of its kind, but Leon Prop, the head of the regional delegation, says they hope to hold similar meetings every six months.

The Red Cross is involved in prevention and treatment, and Mr Prop says they consider HIV/AIDS as the biggest humanitarian disaster of our lifetime.

He says the Red Cross is focussed on fighting the stigma and discrimination of people with HIV/AIDS, which is a major obstacle to preventing the spread of the disease.

"Fortunately at this moment the infection rates are not as high in the Pacific as they are in other parts of the world which gives us a window of opportunity to prevent HIV/AIDS taking a stronger foothold in this region as there is in other parts of the world"

Leon Prop, the head of the regional delegation of the Red Cross.