GENEVA, 26 August 2011 - The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) applauds a decision by the Government of Fiji to lift its restrictions on entry, stay or residence based on HIV status. With this reform-officially announced today by the President of Fiji at an AIDS conference in South Korea-Fiji joins a growing list of countries that are aligning national HIV legislation with international public health standards.
"This is a clear breakthrough in our efforts to secure the global freedom of movement for people living with HIV," said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. "Restrictions that limit movement based on HIV-positive status only are discriminatory and violate human rights," he added.
In Fiji, as elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, increased action on AIDS is showing results and the AIDS epidemic is stabilizing. However, new HIV infections still outpace the number of people starting treatment, and stigma and discrimination pose serious obstacles to progress.
After the removal of Fiji's restrictions, UNAIDS counts 47 countries, territories, and areas that continue to impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status. At least, 128 countries have no such restrictions.