Maire-Bopp Allport Dupont (French Polynesia)


0949“The United States has voted a budget of 393 billion US dollars for military operations in 2001. If we can spend so much on the military, I am sure we can spend as much on HIV and AIDS.”

Colonization, nuclear testing, and the Aids pandemic have broken the peace and paradise of the Pacific islands. From Tahiti, Maire-Bopp Allport – anti-nuclear activist and AIDS campaigner – is the founder of the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF), supporting islanders living with HIV/AIDS. As a journalist, Maire helped put AIDS on the Pacific agenda when she courageously spoke of her HIV-positive status at a regional media conference. A member of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement, Maire campaigns for peace and human security in French Polynesia and the Pacific.

2002: the closing ceremony of the World Aids Conference in Barcelona. Bill Clinton is to introduce Nelson Mandela. Maire-Bopp Allport, a young Tahitian woman, steps out to introduce the former US President. She is one of many Pacific Islanders living with HIV/AIDS – a woman with the courage to break taboos to discuss the epidemic afflicting the Pacific and the world. Before the Barcelona audience, Maire stresses that HIV/AIDS is a security issue: “The United States voted a military budget of 393 billion US dollars in 2001. But I wish for peace, because in the world now, and in my country, violence is so big that it stops us from giving this message of awareness to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.” Born in Tahiti, Maire was diagnosed in 1998 while studying at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Within months, one of the first Pacific islanders to go public, she declared her HIV status at the regional Pacific Islands News Association conference. In pin-drop quiet, her colleagues listened to her moving speech on the challenges of living with the disease. Journalists are rarely lost for words, but all were struck dumb by her bravery and boldness. When colleagues asked if they could use her name, she replied: “Of course. That is why I am here.” Today, Maire is chief executive officer of the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF), supporting islanders living with HIV/AIDS. She believes people living with the virus must take the lead in challenging the stigma associated with AIDS. Now based in Cook Islands, Maire travels the Pacific to speak to young people, parents, policy makers, and priests about the AIDS pandemic, and how to act to bring security to their lives. As an anti-nuclear activist and journalist, she continues to work with her Maohi people, who suffered 30 years of French nuclear testing.

Pacific Islands Aids Foundation (PIAF) Women’s International Leage for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement (NFIP)

Oceania | French Polynesia

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