Pacific Island leaders and politicians have been told they must end their denial mentality and show strong leadership on tackling HIV and AIDS
Representatives from 15 Pacific Islands are meeting in New Zealand this week to discuss the establishment of laws that adequately protect the rights of people living with HIV.
Australian High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby told the meeting he has seen firsthand the result of African leaders failing to tackle the growing problem of AIDS.
Justice Kirby was a member of the World Health Organisation's global commission on AIDS from 1988 to 1992 and advised South Africa on how to proceed, in the light of strategies adopted by New Zealand and Australia.
But he says South Africa did not put in place a major AIDS education program or promote condom availability, and has suffered terrible consequences as a result.
Justice Kirby urged Pacific leaders not to follow the South African experience of neglect, denial and inaction.
Pacific told it can't ignore threat of Aids