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Two new cases of HIV detected in Samoa

Tupua Tamasese Meaola Hospital

Apia, SAMOA — The Ministry of Health has advised that for the first time since 2012, two new cases of the H.I.V. virus have been detected in Samoa.

The two patients who tested positive for the virus—which over time can lead to Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (A.I.D.S.)—have begun treatment. 

While more cases of sexually transmitted infections (S.T.I.) are being detected, the Ministry said the challenge to prevent new infections remains.

Statistics on current H.I.V. and S.T.I. cases in Samoa were recently released in the Ministry of Health’s HIV STI & TB Bulletin Volume 1. Issue 8, August 2018.

The rise in chlamydia (known locally as ma’i afi) in young people between the ages of 20-24 is also a cause for concern for the Ministry. 

According to recently released data highlighted in the bulletin, in mid-2017 patients who tested positive for chlamydia was 20.70 percent but that increased to 24.22 percent in mid-2018.

While there was a marked decrease in gonorrhea cases from 21.21 percent in mid-2017 to 5.56 percent mid-2018, there was an increase in syphilis cases from 0.73 percent in mid-2017 to 1.04 percent in mid-2018. There was no significant change in data recorded for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

The Ministry said in terms of people who tested positive for at least one S.T.I., these cases increased from 6,114 mid-year 2016 to 8,986 mid-year 2017 and represented a 47 percent increase.