Military targets HIV test centre

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FIJI - It will take more than a year to see the establishment of a Voluntary Counselling Confidential Testing unit for HIV/AIDS in the military become reality.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said they welcomed the idea and there was a need to educate the military on the issue.

He said this was the reason they took the initiative to try and formulate an HIV policy guideline.

"It is warranted in the sense that the issue is now a concern for the nation as a whole and it would help when institutions such as the RFMF lends a helping hand by taking care of its members.

Major Leweni said the military would benefit when service personnel were counselled to determine for themselves whether there was a need to undertake a test instead of making the test mandatory.

"There will be a need to determine a budget for the unit and the personnel to run it will have to be trained counsellors.

"Also the equipment and the environment will have to be friendly, meaning a building that will be suitable.

"It will therefore take at least another year or more before we see this becoming a reality," he said.

The idea was mooted by the Fiji AIDS Taskforce at the army's workshop on HIV/AIDS policy at the Tradewinds on Friday and this has been positively received by the participants, according to VCCT clinical nurse Sereima Vatuvatu.

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