10 Jan 2011

Cooks HIV case prompts sex education effort

6:41 am on 10 January 2011

The Cook Islands Health Minister says public health officials are working on a sex education programme to protect the public following the first positive test for HIV in the country.

The government has now decided not to identify the HIV positive person after initially seeking legal advice on the issue.

The Health Minister Nandi Glassie says concerns about public safety had been raised but he has been advised that confidentiality is extremely important.

However, Mr Glassie says the threat to public safety remains, and notices have been issued through the media about the risks of unsafe sex.

"Because this is the first ever case in the Cook Islands, we have a very clean record in this area so that's why public health is giving out an educational and awareness programme so that the public is fully informed on this particular case and we want to make sure that the HIV doesn't spread so as to preserve our good image."

Nandi Glassie says people considering being tested for HIV can be assured they will not be identified.