Monday, November 30, 2015

32,000 living with HIV in PNG

AN estimated 32,000 people are living with HIV in the country, although there are thousands others living with the virus but do not know it, an official says.
As the nation celebrates World Aids Day today, Peter Bire, the director of the National AIDS Council secretariat, said the “incidence rate is decreasing or stabilising to around 2000 new cases per year”.
“The national average adult prevalence rate is 0.65 per cent,” he said.
“However, unfortunately, the prevalence rate is much higher in certain key or most-at-risk populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgenders, including those with TB and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Therefore, one can say that the HIV epidemic is concentrated in these key populations and geographical regions.”
One of the people living with HIV, Maura Elaripe, yesterday told of how she struggled with HIV for 18 years.
Elaripe, 38, from Ihu district in Gulf, was diagnosed with HIV in 1997, when she was 18. She had graduated as a nurse and was into her first year of working when she contracted the disease.
“When I contracted the disease, there was no organisation, no policy or drugs to cater for that disease. There was nothing in place for HIV,” she said.
She began in 2001 to come out and tell her story to help people understand the problem and to help those like her.