HIV Epidemic Needs Combined Effort

UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions, Eamonn Murphy Murphy was on a visit to PNG to help raise awareness, mobilize action, and advocate for urgent measures to address the growing HIV crisis in the country.

Murphy revealed alarming rates of HIV increases in the Asia Pacific Region. The estimated new infections in PNG in 2022 the 6500, which is 18 new infections per day. Of the 72000 PLWH, 43816 are on ART and 1100 AIDS-related deaths.

Increase in HIV/AIDS cases

When commemorating the World AIDS Day on December 1st 2023 in Kwikila, the HIV/AIDS awareness team spoke to the communities about the importance and gravity of the disease. They were urged to come forward and be tested.

District HIV/AIDS coordinator, Peter Pahu told the gathering at Kwikila that since 2016 there has been an increase in people testing positive for HIV/AIDS.

He said according to statistics in Rigo, 2016 the district recorded only eight positive cases but as the years went by numbers have increased. In 2023, there were 212 people tested positive.

Upskilling Workshop For NGE

Health Department STI/HIV/AIDS Program Technical Advisor, Alice Marai led a technical team from Port Moresby including officers  Mary Daniel and Isaac Nare to facilitate at a nine-days training workshop on ‘Provider Initiated Counsel & Testing’ for the health workers in Eastern Highlands Province.

She emphasised control on big groups of people moving around and camping out at make shift campaign houses.

High risk of resistance to HIV drugs

Joe Yalopa is a HIV counsellor from Goroka who now lives and works in East Sepik.

He is with the VCCT unit of the Sepik Centre of Hope, and is quite concerned about what currently lacks in the advocacy and awareness space for HIV and AIDS in the province.

In his 12 years of deployment, Yalopa has seen the highs and success of response to advocacy and now the lows of lack of advocacy and awareness.


Over K25m spent per year on AIDS treatment: Minister

Speaking at the recent observance of World AIDS Day, Health Minister Jelta Wong said: “The government, in its 2020 budget, has set aside an additional K10 million for HIV/AIDS treatment.”

Wong said the first case of HIV was diagnosed in 1987 in Port Moresby. Seven years later, PNG’s HIV epidemic was described as being generalised when 1 percent of the sexually active population in the country were diagnosed with HIV infection.

Staggering HIV stats in Porgera

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.

120,000 condoms donated

This comes as the country faces a shortage of supplies relating to combating the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The donation was made at the National AIDS Council Secretariat headquarters in Port Moresby in the presence of the US Ambassador to PNG, Catherine Ebert-Gray.

The 40 cartons of strawberry scented condoms and 120 cartons of water based lubricants were unloaded and placed in the NAC’s office.

O’Neill thanks US for help in health care delivery

The Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has expressed Papua New Guinea’s appreciation and gratitude to the United States Government for its ongoing healthcare engagement and in logistical support for APEC Papua New Guinea 2018.

PM O’Neill made the remarks during a courtesy call from the United States’ Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Catherine Ebert-Gray, in Port Moresby.

Mini Expo shows work done to address HIV by churches

This was an opportunity for churches and stakeholders who are working with the churches to showcase their work in relation to addressing HIV and other cross cutting issues.

The summit has brought together all heads of churches in the country to further discuss HIV, learn from the current HIV situation, and identify existing gaps in the response and how the churches as a collective voice can address these issues within their network.

Christian leaders HIV Summit elaborate on issues


There were closed door sessions only for the leaders to elaborate further on these issue and in the end come up with sets of recommendations as a way forward to their response to tackling HIV and GBV related matters in the country.

It is anticipated that from this summit, the outcomes would include understanding the level of active involvement and participation of church leaders in HIV advocacy.