Samoa joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Aids Day last week.
In doing so, a special service was held at Matafele Methodist Church led by Reverend Taumafai Komiti.
“My Health, My Right”, the theme of this year’s World Aids Day, was echoed loud and clear by the Associate Health Minister Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching during the service.
“Lighting the candle and spreading its brightness echoes the cries of people who have H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. and wanting to be free from such sickness and finger pointing.
“In this church celebration, we thank our Heavenly Father for His love and guidance upon us.
“In 1983, a global network for people living with H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. commemorated this day and it has been 34 years now.”
During the service, guests, families and friends were given the opportunity to light a candle as a symbol of love and to remember all those who have passed away because of H.I.V/A.I.D.S.
“The Ministry of Health data shows that from 1990 to 2017, 24 people have been carriers of H.I.V./ A.I.D.S. of which 18 are men and six are women, 13 have passed away and only 11 are still alive and six are children who were infected while their mothers were pregnant,” Salausa said.
“U.N. records show that in 2016, 36.7 million have been infected with H.I.V. /A.I.D.S., 17.8 million are females and 2.1 million are children under the age of 15 years.
“Comparing this to our number, it seems very low, but the initiative by the Samoa Aids Foundation, Samoa Red Cross, Samoa Family Health, Samoa Faafafine Association and Ministry of Health is to challenge ourselves to work together to protect our health,” Salausa added.