May 31, 2011
Fiji's president on Monday called for immediate action on HIV/AIDS in the island nation, particularly for prevention efforts targeting the most economically productive portion of the population. "The key to defusing this potential time bomb is a multifaceted approach to the eradication of HIV/AIDS, and we intend to use every possible tool at our disposal to ensure that national progress is not stopped" and development is not stifled, said Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. The president, the keynote speaker at the HIV Decree workshop in Suva, noted that Fiji is dependent on tourism, and an increase in HIV infections could cripple the economy. In 2004, Fiji began providing free antiretroviral treatment to those in need. Earlier this year, it issued its first-ever HIV/AIDS decree, which ensures the human rights of those seeking prevention, care, and support services.