Peati Iupeli with her son (photo from Facebook page)
APIA, SAMOA FRIDAY 29 MAY 2015: A Samoan mother who publicly declared her HIV/AIDS condition and continued as a campaigner to break the cultural barriers and stigma against the disease, has finally lost her battle. Mrs. Peati Iupeli, died at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital yesterday.
She was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.
Peati Iupeli, a former Bank employee then an insurance sales agent, publicly declared her condition in a feature story in the Talamua Magazine in 1998 and told of the discrimination she received when her husband, a former national rugby player died of the virus.
It was then that she started her public campaign through selected groups and then public forums, in an effort to break the stigma attached to people suffering from AIDS and for the public to be aware and be protected from infection.
She has been the face of the campaign on local TV and other media and had participated in many international and regional forums on preventive and public educational programmes on HIV/AIDS.
She is survived by a son, an upcoming rugby player himself who is named Natal when he was born while his father was on tour with the Samoa side in the South African province at the time.