HEALTH: Majority of Samoa’s HIV/Aids Patients Are Young Students

PHOTO: One of the floats during the celebrations of World Aids Day December 2018

By Faye Seiuli

APIA, SAMOA – 02 FEBRUARY 2019:  Startling statistics released this week by the Samoa Aids Foundation reveal that of Samoa’s 11 recorded HV/AIDS patients, 9 are young students. Three are in College and six are in the Primary level.

The President of the revived Samoa Aids Foundation (SAF), Leniu Dr. Asaua Faasino confirmed with Talamua that that the victims in the Primary level contracted the virus from their mothers.

Leniu said the identities of the students are well guarded.

“The parents are conscious of the stigma on their children hence the request to keep their identities confidential,” Leniu told Talamua.

Leniu also confirmed that the students receive treatment twice a month.

The Samoa Aids Foundation staff – Dorothy Faaiuga, Leniu Dr. Asaua Faasino, Akalita Apelu & Matalena Toloa at their new office at Nia Mall

HIV/AIDS was first diagnosed in Samoa 15 years ago and since then, 24 Samoans are recorded to be affected.

“Thirteen have passed on and 11 are still going through treatment,” said Leniu.

The Samoa Aids Foundation has recently revived its office and clinic at the Nia Mall complex at Saleufi and Leniu is encouraging the public to come to be tested.

“We believe that there are people already affected without them knowing unless they are tested,” said Leniu.

She said the SAF office purpose is to support through counselling and testing people living with HIV/AIDS.

She also said that HIV/AIDS can be treated and is no longer referred to as a “Fa’amai Oti” (Death Disease) as some of the patients who received treatment have lived for more than 15 years.