24 Jun 2004

14 new HIV/AIDS cases reported in Fiji

4:08 pm on 24 June 2004

An alarming increase in HIV/AIDS has been reported in Fiji, with 14 new cases confirmed in the first five months of this year.

And for the first time, 2 of the new cases are in the 50 to 60-year old group.

The total number of confirmed cases in Fiji has now risen from 142 to 156, but the real number is believed to be in the thousands.

The health minister, Solomone Naivalu, says of the 14 new cases, 13 were indigenous Fijians and one was an ethnic Indian, while all were from heterosexual relationships, not homosexual.

Of known cases in Fiji so far, 84 percent have been among indigenous Fijians and 12 percent among ethnic Indians while 2 percent were from other communities.

The chairman of the Great Council of chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has said previously that there's an epidemic of HIV/AIDS among Fijians and the council has to embark on a major campaign to educate the community against the dangers of the disease.