“Poverty and lack of quality education lead to sexual risk. Skills development, employment creation and good governance can help fight HIV/AIDS,” said Mr Polye when delivering a closing speech to mark the World AIDS Day at the Sir John Guise Indoor complex in the capital city.
He said as a leader of a remote district in the country, the World AIDS Day provided a forum to debate about the epidemic to extract better policies and laws to combat HIV/AIDs.
“We all have to be committed in addressing the issue and show love and care to those living with the virus.
“If we do not address the issue, we risk losing our professionals, youths and others.
He said there was a need to learn who was infected.
“At the moment, there is no systematic testing of those who might be infected.
“We need improved testing services – and our people need not be ashamed to use them. If infected, then treatment and care can begin,” he said.
He shared an experience which involved one of his nephews whom he advised to get tested for HIV/AIDs, saying that person was reluctant to do so with an excuse he was ill with typhoid. This person died of AIDs.
He urged Papua New Guineans not to become like that person.
“Ino samtin blo sem. Plis go sekim blut na bai u save lo aids status blo yu. It is not something to be ashamed of. Please get tested, know your status and get treated,” he said.
“I check my status quarterly even when the test proves my status negative.
“Even if you are proven to be someone living with AIDS, do not be bothered. It is just like malaria or other diseases. It is treatable,” said Mr Polye.
He also urged them to look after those living with AIDs, saying give them love and care they need.