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Papua New Guinea Listed as Highest HIV Prevalance Rate Countries in the Pacific Region

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is listed as one of the countries in the Pacific region with a highest HIV prevalence rate of 0.9 percent.

The prime focus for the national aids council secretariat is now on the seven highlands provinces, Lae and Port Moresby.

And of the seven highlands provinces, Western highlands province is on the top of the list.

The Chairman of the AIDS committee secretariat said, the focus will be now on those provinces as they make up a big portion of people contracting HIV.

“Wherever in Papua New Guinea that you go to, statistics provided by testing sites in those provinces shows that the person infected comes from the Highlands” Dr. Bun Said.

Dr. Bun said that about 80 percent of these cases come from the highlands province, Morobe and Port Moresby, while other provinces make up the remaining 20 percent.

But those statistics are of those going for testing. Many more who are reluctant to go for testing remain unaccounted.

The General secretariat meanwhile is working on a strategic plan that will target the populations that are most likely to spread the disease.

And those are the working class people, and people with large amount of money to spend.

“Sex can easily be negotiated in the highlands than anywhere else in Papua New Guinea, and that’s largely fuelling the epidemic”, Dr. Bun said.

Last week during a workshop in Mt. Hagen, the Western Highlands Provincial Aids Committee revealed the extent of the epidemic in the province.
 
The National AIDS council also fears that, in the next few years, PNG’s productive age group who are between the ages of 15 and 29 might be greatly affected by HIV. [EMTV]

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