Kevin Miles, the Head of Grants for the Oil Search Foundation and a HIV expert with 25 years’ experience in the field of HIV, shared his personal and intimate account of caring for patients and loved ones with HIV in the early days of the epidemic.
“If we are to unite in the response to HIV, we have to share our stories, acknowledge our differences and decide how we will respond as individuals and as a community,” he said.
He recounted the enormous change he witnessed when anti-retroviral treatment became available and HIV was suddenly no longer a death sentence.
He emphasised that today, people living with HIV can live long, healthy and happy lives if they receive the care, treatment and dignity they deserve.
“HIV affects a range of individuals, all facing different challenges, and all needing our support. We can better address HIV, by uniting and sharing our stories.”
WAD activities took place across communities in Oil Search project areas supported by the Oil Search Foundation, including at Pimaga, Ai’io and Kaimari villages as well as at Tari hospital in Hela province. The national theme “Know your status, get treatment and live longer” was imparted on the communities through drama performances by theatre groups, speeches by chiefs and community leaders, and games and quizzes with targeted awareness messages.