Mrs Iavro from the MOH's HIV/AIDS unit.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has recorded four new HIV/AIDS cases in Vanuatu.

Mrs Edna Iavro from the MOH’s HIV and STI Unit told Daily Post the new cases were recorded between 2015 to 2020.

“There are three females and one male, age average from 16-50s, and all of them are responding very well to their medication,” Mrs Iavro told Daily Post.

“There is a good collaboration between the ministry and the patients.”

HIV is treated with antiretroviral medications, which works by stopping the virus replicating in the body. This allows the immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage. A combination of HIV drugs is used because HIV can quickly adapt and become resistant.

“All the victims are responsive with the treatment,” she added.

Sexual contact remains the predominant mode of transmission and people are encouraged to participate or voluntary show up for testing.

Other modes of transmission were sharing of infected needles that no case has been reported, and mother-to-child transmission (one deceased). 

However, there is no data on the mode of transmission for the four new cases.

The first HIV positive case was reported in 2002. While the number of HIV cases is low, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are highly prevalent.

The report on the new cases comes to clarify a recent article by Daily Post on Member of Parliament of Santo Rural, Joshua Pikioune and the Parliamentary Social Committee’s visit to the COVID-19 isolation center at the Vila Central Hospital.

In their response to a question by Third Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nakou Natuman at the time, the Acting Director of the Department of Curative and Hospital ServicesJohnson Wabaiat and his colleagues said there were no new cases recorded between 2015 to 2020.

With the clarification by Mrs Iavro, at this stage officially, a total of 10 people in the country are living with HIV/AIDS.

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