Subject: LUSA: Government Confirms First Three Cases of HIV/AIDS

27 Dec 01 12:58 East Timor: Government Confirms First Three Cases of HIV/AIDS

East Timor´s health ministry Thursday formally confirmed the territory´s first cases of HIV/AIDS infection.

In a statement, the ministry said three members of an unidentified family had been found with the HIV virus and were receiving "assistance and help.

"It is estimated that the family contracted the virus in the last three to four years", the ministry said.

A report obtained by Lusa in Dili in July 2000 indicated the existence of at least two cases of HIV/AIDS and called for an "immediate policy of education and consciousness raising", including the provision of condoms in the predominantly Catholic territory.

That report underlined that "conditions" existed for the spread of the global pandemic in East Timor, including increases in prostitution and drug abuse, and traditional "cultural pressures" limiting the public discussion of the problem.

SAS -Lusa-

© 1997 Lusa Comentários e Sugestões para Agência Lusa

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