HIV girl in fine health

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FIJI - A 13-year-old girl who contracted HIV after being raped, is in fine health and likely to start school again next year, said former Ministry of Health AIDS project officer Dr Jiko Luveni.

Dr Luveni said the teenager had regained her health after initially being emaciated due to drug treatment.

She said the girl was undergoing counselling every month to help deal with the trauma.

She said authorities had so far been unable to determine when the girl contracted the disease.

The girl has remained silent on the exact circumstances surrounding her rape in an island in the Lomaiviti Group. Her attacker has since died of the disease. Dr Luveni said young people were particularly vulnerable to HIV/Aids and parents and guardians had to monitor the activities of youths to ensure they stayed away from risky sexual activity.

She said this was particularly important as the holiday season approached.

She said people in Maritime provinces could not afford to become complacent as the disease "is now in the islands".

Meanwhile, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre spokesperson Edwina Kotoisuva said there should be adequate counselling for people living with AIDS especially for those who contract the disease after being raped.

"There is a need for more counselling services especially for those who contract the disease after being raped because in a rape case there are so many other issues that need to be addressed," she said.

She added that the Government should provide more accommodation facilities to cater for those living with HIV/AIDS because many faced ostracism at home and were homeless.

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