PNG records 2172 new HIV cases - Solomon Star News


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PNG records 2172 new HIV cases

18 July 2014

OF 31,945 people living with HIV in the country, 2172 of them are new infections.

This was revealed during the National Economic Fiscal Commission conference in Kimbe, West New Britain last week.

Deputy director ofthe PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat Dr Moale Kariko said prevalence was highest in the National Capital District and the Highlands region where 90% of all reported cases came from.

He said the key population more associated with the prevalence included female sex workers, men who had sex with men and transgender individuals.

He said a great challenge was that key populations were more difficult to reach due to stigma and legal barriers.

Kariko said new infections, regarded as those infected from last year, were still difficult to establish except through modelling, adding there were 1000 new diagnoses or new reported cases in 2012.

However, actual infections could have occurred years before but just been found.

He said consistent condom use in sex work remained low at 37% in vaginal sex; 30% in anal sex with opposite sex and 46% in same sex anal sex according Askim Na Save study in NCD, 2010.

Kariko’s presentation during the conference highlighted that an estimated 26% of people needing Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) were still not accessing it.

In 2012, 11,764 of the HIV population were on ART which was 74 %.

Kariko said rates of HIV testing in sexual transmitted infections and Tuberculosis servicesalso remained low despite known high infection rates in STI and TB clients.

He said the National Aids Council Secretariat had prioritised improving strategic information to provide accurate picture of the epidemic and enhanced evidence-based programming.

It was working with other stakeholders in establishing and strengthening programme database at NACS, advocacy and legislative reforms to create a more enabling environment to tackle legal barriers.

Port Moresby (The National)