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Overseas Aid

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HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea

PNG has the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region. It is estimated that 2% of the adult population, approximately 64,000 people, are now HIV positive.

Heterosexual transmission is the predominant means of infection. While approximately equal numbers of men and women are currently affected, young women and older men are disproportionately affected.

Significant HIV prevalence rates are found both in large urban areas, such as Port Moresby, and in rural pockets, typically around high risk settings including transport routes, mining and logging sites.

Impacts of HIV/AIDS

This growing HIV/AIDS epidemic will impact on the future of PNG, including reduced life expectancy, workforce depletion, increased health expenditure and reduced economic growth.

An AusAID-commissioned report* concluded that unless interventions to address the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS in PNG are scaled up, by 2025:

  • Over 500,000 people will be living with HIV/AIDS
  • 117,000 children will have lost their mothers to AIDS
  • The workforce will have declined by 12.5%
  • GDP will be 1.3% less than predicted
  • 70% of all hospital beds will be needed for AIDS patients.

* See Impacts of HIV/AIDS 2005 - 2025 in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor - Final Report (2006)

See also Potential Economic Impacts of an HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Papua New Guinea for more information on the economic impacts of HIV/AIDS in PNG.

Australia's Response

Australia's approach to supporting the response to HIV/AIDS in PNG over the next five years is descibed in the publication Australia's Strategy to Support Papua New Guinea's Response to HIV/AIDS 2006-2010.

Aid Activities

PNG- Australia/HIV and AIDS Program - Sanap Wantaim (Stand Together)

This $100 million, five year program commenced in January 2007. The program is closely aligned with the PNG government's priorities outlined under the PNG HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan 2006 -2010.

It focuses not only on preventing the spread of HIV but also on providing treatment, care and support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The program also places increased emphasis on addressing some of the difficult issues underlying the epidemic - including gender inequality, improving health systems, and upgrading surveillance capacity.

This program will also be complemented by additional support of up to $50 million to enable Papua New Guinea's health system to provide necessary services to reduce the spread of HIV and help those people already affected by HIV/AIDS.

National HIV/AIDS Support Project (NHASP)

The $66.5 million project began in October 2000 and concluded in December 2006.

The project operated across PNG, with achievements including:

  • installing 10,000 small and 500 large condom dispensers
  • training 620 health workers in STI/HIV management and 1,400 counsellors to increase testing for HIV and support for people living with HIV/AIDS
  • strengthening PNG organisations through $13 million in community and research grants.
  • supported legislation to protect the rights of people living with HIV
  • establishing seventeen community care centers for HIV positive people.

See Evaluation of the PNG National HIV/AIDS Support Project


In recognition of the threat that HIV poses, Australia is incorporating HIV prevention and education components into all its PNG aid projects.The purpose of this mainstreaming is to ensure that all sectors and agencies are equipped and able to address how they might be affecting the HIV epidemic, how HIV might be affecting their development outcomes and then adapting their programs accordingly. For example, prison inmates and officers in PNG jails are learning about HIV transmission and prevention through a wider Correctional Services Development Project.

Guidelines have been developed to assist development personnel in PNG adapt to the realities of HIV/AIDS.

See Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS into AusAID's Development Portfolio in PNG

See also Review of AusAID Multisectoral HIV Initiatives in Papua New Guinea (2005) for the experience of eight AusAID-supported projects that incorporated HIV/AIDS initiatives into their work in PNG


The program will be complemented by key partnerships with international HIV/AIDS partners and the private sector including:

  • the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative to support increased access to life saving drugs for HIV positive people in PNG, including drugs being provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
  • the Asian Development Bank, co-financing condom social marketing as part of the Asian Development Bank's HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control in Rural Development Enclaves Project
  • the Asia Pacific Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS to expand the private sector response to HIV/AIDS in PNG.

Multilateral funding

PNG also benefits from Australia's $75 million contribution over four years to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Australia also contributed $4 million in 2006-2007 to UNAIDS, a vital partner is addressing HIV/AIDS in the Asia Pacific Region.

For further information on Australia's International Response to HIVAIDS see elswhere on this website HIV/AIDS: Australia's International Response

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February 2007

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