23 Jun 2006

Fiji military introduces AIDS testing

3:49 pm on 23 June 2006

Fiji's military has revealed that all its troops must be tested for AIDS/HIV every six months whether they are on an overseas peacekeeping mission or not.

The Fiji Times quotes the army's chief medical officer, Dr Romney Tikoinayau, as saying the military has a policy of compulsory testing for AIDS/HIV of all soldiers.

This is regardless of whether the soldiers are on pre-deployment, post-deployment, re-engaged or during active service.

Dr Tikoinayau says the policy is that soldiers who test positive are not allowed to travel overseas for peacekeeping duties or for any conferences.

The director of the military's legal services, Major Kitione Tuinausara, says compulsory testing has helped in the early detection of sexually transmitted diseases among soldiers.

Major Tuinausara says if soldiers refuse to take the test, they will not be allowed to travel overseas at all.