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South Pacific Games to Be Used as AIDS Awareness Campaign

May 7, 2003

The South Pacific Games, set to begin June 28 in Fiji, will be used as a vehicle of HIV/AIDS education. "The Pacific region number [of infections] is relatively low, you have the unique opportunity to avert disaster," Japanese Ambassador Kenro Iino said before Solomoni Naivalu, Fiji's health minister, launched the campaign, which is funded by Japan and Britain. Six thousand athletes are to compete in 32 sports during the games. Referring to the high rate of STDs in the region as a surrogate indicator for HIV/AIDS, Naivalu said, "The athletes must make the right decision for the consequences of their decision could be a matter of life or death." The campaign includes print, TV and radio ads, and it uses regional sports figures as role models.

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