Fiji reports first death of HIV patient with Covid-19

Fiji has reported its first death of a person living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and diagnosed with Covid-19.

But the Health Ministry said the death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition and not by the delta virus.

The Ministry said several HIV patients, diagnosed with Covid-19 in Fiji, were among 36,724 people who had recovered from the coronavirus since March last year.

Fiji received $US272,000 worth of anti-retroviral medicine from the Atlanta Medicare Company Ltd of Thailand on Tuesday.

The UNAIDS agency contributed $US37,000 in air freight costs.

Australia also donated paediatric HIV drugs and freight worth about $US5000.

Fiji's Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said as the country battled the Covid-19 pandemic, health workers had ensured services for people with chronic diseases, including care for people living with HIV, continued.

This included establishing telemedicine for consultation and delivery of medication, Dr Waqainabete said.

He added Fiji was reviewing and adopting HIV testing, and counselling strategies and policies.

He said the aim was to achieve zero transmission of HIV from mother to child, which Fiji had achieved.

"Also to strengthen the role and functions of the HIV Board in supporting people living with HIV, of which 78 per cent of these individuals are on the life changing HIV medication," Dr Waqainabete said.

The given medication will benefit 500 people living with HIV in Fiji - of which more than 40 are children.