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View Poll Results: Should the Government Do More?
By supporting and encouraging young youths to get involve in the fight against HIV/AIDS? 18 81.82%
Or provide more funding to assist the non-government organisations to run their HIV/AIDS awareness programs? 13 59.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-07-2004, 06:35 PM
meripng meripng is offline
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Exclamation HIV/AIDS Casts A Shadow Over PNG...........Should The Government Do More?

The dark shadow of an HIV/AIDS epidemic is slowly engulfing Papua New Guinea as statistics released by national health authorities point to a rapid increase in infections. The perceived inadequacy of PNG government funding to fight the deadly virus has worried local churches, non-government organizations, PNG bureaucrats and donors.

Surveillance by health officials at STI (sexually transmitted infections) clinics and hospitals show a fast increase in HIV cases especially among young women between the ages of 15-24.

PNG now has the Pacific region's highest number of HIV/AIDS carriers. The epidemic is concentrated among heterosexuals practicing high-risk behavior (at over 70 percent) followed by mother-to-child transmission (during birth or through breast-feeding), unsafe injection practices, transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men.

People often compare the HIV epidemic in PNG to the epidemic in Africa where some countries have infection rates of around 30 percent. The World Bank has estimated that there may be up to 50,000 people infected with HIV living in PNG. The World Health Organization's western Pacific regional office has named PNG, China, Vietnam and Cambodia as countries needing priority action.

The director for monitoring, research and evaluation in the PNG Health Department, Dr. Gilbert Hiawalyer, says more than 16,000 people in PNG have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS since the first case was reported in 1987. He says there has been an eight per cent increase in HIV prevalence among people aged 15-24, and approximately 1 percent of women in the same age group who went to the antenatal clinic at the Port Moresby General Hospital were HIV positive.

While Port Moresby had the highest number of HIV/AIDS patients between 1987 and September last year with 4,983 there were also 700 reported cases in the Western Highlands province followed by several hundred in Morobe, Eastern Highlands and Enga provinces.

"Men in PNG should change their behavior because they are responsible for spreading the HIV virus. Women, most of them get it under unfortunate circumstance because it is the behavior of men that spreads the virus," said Dr Hiawalyer.

"Churches can be more proactive, I think they should allow people to become more active and talk about sexual behavior more freely rather than treat it as taboo. Everybody feels that AIDS is just a problem for the Health Department. It is not, it is a problem for everybody."

In its 2004 national budget, the government allocated just over $AU298,000 to the National AIDS Council, which was established to prevent the transmission of HIV and STIs in PNG. The allocation drew the ire of people in the forefront of the HIV/AIDS battle, including veiled criticism from donors, and the council's director, Dr. Ninkama Moiya, who decried what he calls, the government's continuous practice of under-funding his office.

But PNG government minister, Dr. Puka Temu, who served as the national health secretary for six years before taking up politics, says the PNG government is providing adequate funding.

Dr. Temu says the PNG national government was concerned about the level of commitment from provincial governments, which he believes have the resources to contribute more and should take the leading role.

"I think we (PNG) are not moving as fast as we should because countries like Uganda, Cambodia and other countries that had the epidemic trend like us are now seeing the downward trend," he says.

"And we are the only country that is seeing the continued upward trend and there are a lot of lessons out there that we are learning on what interventions we need to employ in order to achieve the downward trend. I think we will get there."

He says PNG's scarcity of infrastructure in the rural areas made it difficult for authorities to get their awareness programs into villages, where 85 percent of PNG's population live.

However, Dr. Temu is optimistic that the HIV/AIDS epidemic would be brought under control in the next two to three years, despite PNG lacking data from which to formulate effective strategies, and possessing 850 different languages which made awareness programs harder.

John Davidson, the head of Australian development agency AusAid in PNG, recently expressed concern that PNG was moving closer to a 1 percent HIV/AIDS infection rate.

He says all stakeholders, including the PNG government, needed to show they are serious about tackling the issue. AusAid's main contribution is the $AU60 million National HIV/AIDS Support Project, a six-year program that finishes in 2006, which aims to strengthen the response in provinces with high HIV prevalence and specifically targets vulnerable groups such as sex workers and youths.

A 2002 report commissioned by AusAid examined the potential economic impacts of HIV in PNG. It concluded that HIV/AIDS had the potential to exacerbate poverty in PNG, with measures of economic welfare falling between 12 and 48 percent by the year 2020. The report also projected that the labor force could be 13-38 percent lower by 2020 than that expected without HIV; and that the budget deficit is forecast to increase by between 9 and 21 percent within the same period.

"We all need to show leadership on getting this message out and on saying to people this is something we should be talking about. We should be talking seriously and something (that) frankly the PNG budget needs to reflect. This is an important issue for the future of PNG. If you look at the economic impact, it's huge," says Davidson.


Last edited by meripng; 09-07-2004 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 09-07-2004, 12:26 PM
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scuba-diver scuba-diver is offline
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you should put a poll on this and see if people will give their two censt worth on this thread. Its a good thread.
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Old 30-07-2004, 12:14 PM
Mum Mum is offline
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Unhappy Alarming Attitudes

I have noted a trend among PNG youth and the attitude they have towards AIDS. Whilst reading PNG forums; I've seen evidence that some still have no idea about the transmission of the virus.

Many believe that the only way the disease spreads is sexually; and that only "players" will contract the disease.

Some comments I have read are:-

"They deserve to die for playing around"

"AIDS is good because it will rid PNG of unfaithful partners"

"Who gives a phuck; they got what was coming to them"

"Long live the honest and decent"

And the list goes on.

With this type of ignorant attitude; one can see the need for a massive education campaign. No wonder sufferers are treated like outcasts.

It appears to be that the only Parliamentarian to take an active role with the AIDS epidemic is Lady Carol Kidu. She needs the support of every member of Parliament; government and opposition.
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Old 17-12-2004, 04:07 AM
mangitbay mangitbay is offline
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Thumbs up What can We do an individuals - Identify Root cause

[quote=meripng]The dark shadow of an HIV/AIDS epidemic is slowly engulfing Papua New Guinea as statistics released by national health authorities point to a rapid increase in infections. The perceived inadequacy of PNG government funding to fight the deadly virus has worried local churches, non-government organizations, PNG bureaucrats and donors.

Adequate funding is one thing and having clearly identify the root cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS is another.

The national government can allocate more resources to minimise the spread of HIV/AIDS in many ways. More resources means more job opportunities and more money spent on wages. We increase our resource base in numbers but, is the national government getting 100% value on it's investment? The circle continues!

In highlighting the need to reach villages, I would suggest we try something like this.

1. The education department should try and introduce in its high school curriculum (for year 12) to obtain 40 hours community services as compulsory in order to graduate. This can be done throughout high school life. Help elderly people, talk about health issues in own village, distribute posters on health issues etc.

2. Working sons and daughters of a community returning home for holidays should, if they feel concern about issues that oneday may affect future generations of that community talk to the community about health issues such as HIV/AIDS and the need to have better formal education.

Recently, there was a high level committee reviewing the education system in PNG. I was at home when they arrived at my community. When I rasied this subject matter, their first reaction was..."no money for such a thing and we will can not force students to do that during their school holidays." Here we are, spending money to get so called experts in education system to visit communities and collect ideas. My immediate impression was that this group of experts are so naive and lack long term vision in solving some of PNG's challenges. How can I trust these experts for recommending changes to the current education system that will have a long term impact on my kids and their kids? They seemed not understand that there is symbiotic relationship between education and health issues.

There are more we can do as individuals, but are we good at talking rather than sacrifice our holiday time to do this? The legacy will remain forever......mangitbay
The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb. Sirach 1:12- Pro-Life

Last edited by mangitbay; 21-02-2005 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 18-08-2006, 12:13 AM
dale dale is offline
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The massive campaigns have not worked - people continue to take risky sexual behaviour and risking being infected with HIV.
The campaign should target the younger generation - the school children. Teach the children when they are still young and they will remember. 'Old dogs will not learn the new tricks'.
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Old 13-04-2012, 12:22 AM
Kolir Kolir is offline
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It's really important that children, the youth, learn more about sex and safer sex! It's something which we have to be aware of! It's true that education is the starting point.. I think adults just care more about it if they know victims personally. But if not, there's no way that they will change their behavior!
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:31 PM
papaya papaya is offline
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I wouldn't even recommend condom to any of you as a preventative method for AIDS.
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Old 16-11-2013, 06:16 PM
jimmy325 jimmy325 is offline
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"AIDS is good because it will rid PNG of unfaithful partners"
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