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:
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 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.
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:
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 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:
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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