Staggering HIV stats in Porgera

The Porgera Urban Clinic (PUC) Disease Control Manager revealed that in a month, between 100-150 patients visit the HIV Clinic, and out of those numbers, between 5 and 10 are registered as new HIV positive cases.

In addition, since March this year alone, of the 999 patients that have undergone HIV testing at the PUC, 49 have been confirmed positive.

Masi Mangan Pakyo highlighted this on 3 September during a presentation of HIV support materials by the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) to the clinic.

“Right now we don’t have HIV medicines but we provide counselling and testing and we give people hope and we do what we can to help,” she said.

“We must understand that PJV is a company and is here to do business but we are always grateful that the company always recognises our efforts to serve the wider Porgera community.”

The HIV support material was delivered to the clinic by PJV Senior Manager Community and Social Responsibility (CSR), Timothy Andambo.

The materials included cartons of male and female condoms, pamphlets and posters and a projector totaling to over K38,800.

Andambo stressed on the importance of safe sex and the need to use protection, emphasising on the safety standards applied at the mine operations and how the same principles apply to engaging in any sexual activity.

“Just like the hard hat serves as protection for a miner’s head, the condom is a safety barrier and prevents the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“The donations are part of our community health support to provide preventative support for HIV. There is nothing wrong with sex – but 5 minutes of fun can destroy your life – always take precaution.”

Porgera District Health Manager Jerry Maku said Porgera is a leading district in AIDS statistics in the Enga Province.

“There are currently over 1,000 HIV clients in the Valley. Once you multiply that by 10, you have an estimated 10,000 people potentially spreading the virus. There are no medicines and people are dying. We have to change behaviour as it is our own individual lives,” Maku said.

He said PJV has always stepped in to assist the clinic in its efforts to serve the district and this was something they were appreciative of.

PJV is also providing wider support toward the HIV campaign in the Valley targeted at the general population. These include branding of buses and billboards in public locations with HIV messaging and provision of support materials to the Porgera Urban Clinic.

In June this year, PJV also donated to the Porgera Urban Clinic office equipment totaling over K6,000 to support the clinic’s medical administrative and record keeping functions.

(A PMV bus in Porgera with a HIV sticker which is part of PJV’s HIV support in the district)

Press release