Fiji recorded 245 new cases of HIV infections in 2022 compared to 151 new cases in 2021 which is an increase of almost 100 per cent.

Highlighting this while receiving Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) drugs from the Indian Government at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Suva Thursday, Minister Dr Antonio Lalabalavu said it is also very worrying to note that 14 of these affected cases were children under the age of four.

“These children acquired the HIV through transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as their mothers had likely missed the opportunity to have received life-saving ART medications.”

“Reports that 2.4 per cent of the new HIV cases in 2022 were adolescents and 87 per cent were in the youth age group from 20 to years.”

Dr Lalabalavu said stigma and discrimination are two main reasons why a million have lost their lives to HIV-related illnesses.

He said Government does not want the same thing for Fijians.

“As a nation, we need to work together towards zero discrimination and stigmatization of individuals affected and infected with HIV.”

“Today, forty years ago since the first cases were reported, HIV AIDS is still a major global health threat. The world is off-track from delivering on the shared commitment to end HIV by 2030. It is not because of a lack of knowledge or tools to beat HIV, but because of structural inequalities that obstruct proven solutions to HIV prevention and treatment.”

“Tackling inequalities is a long-standing global promise, the urgency of which has only increased,” Dr Lalabalavu further stated.