December 3, 2009
A report released Wednesday by the Commission on AIDS in the Pacific region outlines the challenges of preventing the spread of HIV in "22 geographically and culturally diverse countries" of the Pacific and recommends efforts to scale up the region's fight against HIV/AIDS, U.N. News Centre reports. The report determined an estimated 59,000 people were living with HIV in the region as of 2008, of which 3,800 were new infections.
To tackle the HIV epidemic, the report recommended the Pacific region work towards "strengthening health systems, overcoming stigma and discrimination, creating a safe environment for people living with HIV, strengthening country surveillance and developing a strong evidence base, and better aligning regional and international support with national priorities," U.N. News Centre writes.
"We now have a much more complete picture and clear recommendations for action," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the launch of the report (12/2).
The report also highlighted the importance of the region's response to HIV in the context of overall development of the region, Radio New Zealand International reports. "In addition, the report states that a one size fits all response does not suit the diversity of Pacific nations and outdated legislation criminalizing homosexuality and commercial sex is a major impediment in the region," the news service writes (Wiseman, 12/3).
Xinhua examines the underlying themes in the recommendations issued by the commission, including the need to enforce legislation that protects people living with HIV/AIDS and ensure HIV programs seek to empower women, as noted by Ban Wednesday (12/3).