Thursday, 4 December 2008 2:58 PM

People Urged to Test for HIV

National Facilitator and Coordinator for the Solomon Islands National AIDS Council (SINAC), Mrs. Helena Tomasi revealed that out of the 12 confirmed cases of people living with HIV, four of them have already died.

She made this statement at the HIV and AIDS workshop held for media organizations.

She stated that out of twelve confirmed cases, four of them are women and eight are men. She also revealed that seven of these positive cases are on the Anti-retroviral drug, funded by the Global Fund which is made possible by the South Pacific Commission (SPC). The Anti-retroviral drug is mainly to slow the process of the HIV virus on an infected person.

She revealed that the twelve confirmed cases were those who went forward for the Voluntary Counseling and Confidential Testing (VCCT), which is a HIV test. She encouraged people to come forward for the testing adding that "once Solomon Islanders are ignorant, we will be like our neighbor, Papua New Guinea who is currently facing an epidemic."

"People may joke about the so called '02' business, but it's a threat to our society," she said. The '02' is a term used for extra marital affairs.

She added that about sixty seven counselors have been trained in VCCT adding that the Ministry of Health is looking at other ways to train more trainers for VCCT counseling.

"I am strongly urging people to come forward to test for HIV and AIDS because it's better to control it than to have an out break of HIV and AIDS because it will affect the economic development of the country," she said.

She also stated that the reason why they went to the Parliament house on World AIDS day was to try and influence the leaders to take HIV and AIDS seriously and to understand the impact that it would have on the society.

"Leaders must understand that we are now depending on aid donors for medication for those living with HIV and AIDS, but we cannot depend on them forever," concludes Mrs. Tomasi.