Fiji and the Pacific are among the poor black gay men who are most vulnerable to HIV /AIDS says Laitia Tamata, a Legal Trainer for the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF).
Tamata said the vulnerability that American black gay men faced was the same as what African and Pacific Island men faced.
He was responding to a study released in a statement by the Black AIDS Institute where founder and executive director Phill Wilson said advances made have not benefited all populations equally.
In an interview with Kaiser Health News last week, Wilson said advances made were sometimes coming at the cost of American blacks suffering.
Tamata said the distribution of wealth in the US between the very rich people who live with very poor people was similar in a lot of ways locally.
“The rich guys in the US are helping the guys who don’t have money, who are vulnerable,” he said.
“Similarly, there are very rich guys who are highly paid in the Pacific Islands who have to reach out to the poor who are vulnerable because of inaccessibility to proper education and proper jobs.”
He said this unfortunate situation is still found despite the fact we have a system where governments believe in social justice.
“How effective is social justice within Pacific islands. How effective is our traditional support systems where the very rich support the very poor.”
Tamata said if we do not find ways to bridge this gap then these diseases like HIV, NCDs and STIs will have a field day in our region.
By Ropate Valemei