The Fijian High Commissioner has confirmed previously unofficial policy changes that men engaging in consensual gay sex will no longer be arrested.

The news was welcomed by the New Zealand AIDS foundation, who have long suspected a link between driving the gay community underground and increased levels of HIV infection.

Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said; “The spread of HIV is facilitated by the prejudice, discrimination and marginalisation of minority communities.”

In a press release, she said, “making gay men into criminals only serves to drive sexual activity underground, making it almost impossible to reach with safe sex information and life-saving condoms.”

“This is a great step forward for the human rights of gay citizens and tourists as well as HIV prevention efforts. in combination with existing human rights protections for gays and lesbians in Fiji’s Constitution, Fiji is now following the path to equality that New Zealand has helped to pave.”

New Zealand celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Act this month. The law reform decriminalized sex between two men.

The news from Fiji follows celebrations in New Zealand this month for the 20th anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Act, which decriminalised sex between men in 1986.