“My health, my rights” was the theme at the Fa’afafine forum held yesterday morning at the Samoa Tourism Authority fale.
A collective of fa’afafine and some fa’afatama came together to discuss a wide range of health issues that these communities faced and provided information and solutions for them.
Although prevention and protection from of H.I.V. A.I.D.S. was at the top of the agenda, attention was also given to other more common illnesses that affect fa’afafine, such as sexually transmitted diseases and infections, diabetes, obesity and prostate cancer.
A representative from the Ministry of Health, Aaone Tanumafili, spoke at the Forum.
“In Samoa, the number of reported cases of H.I.V. infected individuals since 1990 is twenty four cases. Most of these cases are male. There are some boys, girls, and children in the cases where the disease was transmitted from mother to baby. There are no fa’afafine in this count.”
Recently the members of S.F.A. held an event where they all got tested together for H.I.V. and yesterday they received their results and Tanumafili was happy to report that they all came back negative.
Hospital nurse, Maxine Fa’amoe Etene, spoke to the Sunday Samoan about why this event was so important to their community.
“This is a very important and vital event for the younger fa’afafine to get together to share problems, share issues and to increase their knowledge and awareness about sexually transmitted diseases because most people don’t have knowledge and understanding and I’m so happy and grateful for this opportunity and even though we don’t have much numbers, at least I can see our new members and there are new people attending the workshop.”
In the open forum discussion, no topic was off limits and together the fa’afafine and fa’afatama asked practical questions of the medical and M.O.H. staff members present around the prevention and protection against H.I.V. A.I.D.S., S.T.I. and S.T.D. as well as prostate cancer.