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August 09, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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The Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF) has renewed calls for the speeding up of legislation in Fiji and the region that will protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

PIAF has been advocating for all Pacific Island countries to have local legislation on the prevention of HIV as it has been proven to be most effective.

The call follows the reversal of a decision by a high school in Pennsylvania, USA to open its doors to a previously rejected HIV positive teenager.

“This is a classic example after 30 years of calls that the virus (HIV) cannot be transmitted by the presence of a person living with HIV in a school setting there are still unnecessary fear causing these bad decisions,” said PIAF’s legal trainer Laitia Tamata.

Only Fiji, PNG and Ponhpei, a state in the Federated States of Micronesia have bills protecting PLHIV.

Tamata said the pseudonym, Abraham Smith, used for the protection of the privacy of the teenager was also included in the national HIV Decree.

“Under the decree on Privacy of Proceedings; Section 34.1.iii says “that the publication of a report of the whole or any part of the proceedings be prohibited or a pseudonym used in place of the name of any person in any such report,” said Tamata.

He said when there is no equality, fairness and dignity for individuals whether HIV positive or otherwise, it is the legislation where people will be protected from further abuse.

By Ropate Valemei

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