The Church of Melanesia (COM) recently launched its HIV and AIDS policy and work programme. The COM also commissioned members, within its congregation, tasked with implementing the work programmes.

Speaking during the launching, one of the coordinators, Mr. Anthony Maelasi, stresses that a lot of work still needs to be done in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"The work of the church against HIV and AIDS has now reached its tenth year, but it has been sporadic and uncoordinated," said Mr. Maelasi.

"The COM HIV and AIDS programme has come a long way and the journey so far has not been an easy one. It has just started and the battle in combating the spread of this deadly virus needs everyone's input."

Mr. Maelasi said that dealing with issues of this nature does raise a lot of questions within the church and the community. "Of course there are concerns from all sectors of the church, as there are perceptions that it conflicts with certain values, particularly cultural and religious values," Mr. Maelasi said. "However, overall there has been continuous support, particularly in terms of finance and technical advice."