Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

New HIV/AIDS Cases Raise Concerns In Solomon Islands
Lack of voluntary testing hinders estimates of local cases

By Ednal R. Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 4, 2012) – Health authorities repeatedly pointed out that unless people avail themselves for voluntary testing, the best guess on the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Solomon Islands will remain vague.

But health experts say the number is likely to be in the hundreds, but lack of voluntary testing forces health authorities to depend on blood samples at hand, which gave the figure the country, sits on at the moment.

Since 1994 up to December last year 2011, 17 have been confirmed six of whom are males and 11 females.

From the confirmed figure, seven have already died and 10 are still alive.

Every year, the ministry of health announced new figures recorded throughout the year, and it has been revealed three (3) new cases have been confirmed this year.

The announcement of the new confirmed cases is expected to be made tomorrow when Honiara marks the world aids day.

It has already been made public during celebrations marking the day on December 1, when the actual day falls.

Doctors have warned there is high risk of more Solomon Islanders contracting the HIV Aids virus "unless the fight against HIV/AIDSand sexually transmitted infections (STI) are collective and consistent."

"There is certainly a correlation between high rates of sexually transmitted infections and high rates of HIV/AIDS," one doctor said.

He said the rate of increase and prevalence of STIs in Melanesia is very high compared to the Polynesian and Micronesian sub-Regions, even if PNG is excluded.

He said the risk of Solomon Islanders contracting the HIV/AIDSvirus has increased dramatically in recent times because of the increased movement of people in and out of the country.

He also said certain misconceptions about the virus, and the fact that such issues are still considered taboo, has helped fuel the increase.

Solomon Star
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