May 25, 2010
The regional chief of UNICEF warned recently that the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu soon could be facing an HIV epidemic. "Tuvalu is on the verge of a general epidemic among its population," Dr. Will Parks told Radio New Zealand. "The Pacific [region] must do all it can to prevent the scenario that we've seen unfold in Papua New Guinea [where HIV is a generalized epidemic]." Reports indicate that more than 95 percent of HIV diagnoses in the Pacific region have been recorded in Papua New Guinea. The recent diagnosis of 11 HIV cases among Tuvalu's population of 9,000 people gives it one of the highest HIV incidence rates in the region, Parks said.