1 Dec 2009

Funding cuts end French Polynesia's free HIV tests

4:12 pm on 1 December 2009

The company offering free HIV/AIDS tests in French Polynesia has announced it lacks the necessary funds to continue to do so.

This was made known ahead of today's World AIDS Day.

The day is to raise awareness about the virus, with this year's campaign calling for free tests and treatment for all.

In French Polynesia, where about 320 people have been diagnosed with HIV since 1985, testing and treatment had been free.

But the publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique magazine, Alex du Prel, says the company doing the HIV tests has not received enough government funding.

"They have run out of the reactives that they need to for the AIDS test. So they have just announced that they are slowing down the programme and that they might stop because they just don't have the funds for that."

Alex Du Prel says the territory will mark the day by raising community awareness through the media and by distributing brochures.