Tue 2 Sep 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA
Niue's Secretary of Government has today distanced the island nation from the recommendation of its own Director of Health that people with HIV are sinners who should be locked up in a isolated colony to keep them away from the general population. Dr Sitaleki Finau compared HIV to typhoid, tuberculosis and leprosy and has advocated corralling HIV positive islanders, of which none are known to live in Niue, in "a colony, where people living with the virus are looked after by their own peers, also people living with HIV/AIDS." He also claims that the rights of people with HIV are over-riding the rights of those without the disease: "Now people who have sinned have more rights than those who sin against them." As 120 HIV positive Pacific Islanders and representatives from associated organisations gather in Auckland to confer on issues relating to their HIV infection, Niue's highest ranked government official says Finau's statements are at odds with Niue's health policy. "Dr Finau, as I understand, has made a personal opinion on a highly sensitive matter and in no way reflects the official view of the Niue Government" says Secretary of Government Crossley Tatui. In a brief statement to GayNZ.com, Tatui says Niue is "a recognised member of HIV/AIDS agencies" in the Pacific region and "takes a uniform and collective position on this matter." Under the guidance of such agencies most Pacific Island nations are progressively adopting a human rights-based approach to HIV education, prevention and support. Tatui would not comment on how Niue's government might address the matter with Dr. Finau.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Tuesday, 2nd September 2008 - 11:35pm
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