by Vasinatta Yama, EM TV – Port Moresby
New records revealed today by the National Aids Council Secretariat, show that Northern, Enga and Jiwaka Provinces are leading the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Overall, an estimated 33,000 people in PNG will be living with HIV and Aids by the end of 2015. People between the age group of 15 to 49 years of aged, are mostly affected.
PNG 2014 HIV/AIDS Estimates and Projections Report showed that at the end of 2013, 32,297 people in PNG were living with HIV/AIDS.
An estimated 33,948 people will be test positive by the end of 2015.
In the 2013 report, 69% of people tested positive were from nine provinces alone.
The estimated prevalence showed that Highlands region was leading, then Southern, Momase and Niugini Islands.
HIV/AIDS was detected in PNG in 1987. Since then, a total of 60,000 people have contracted AIDS.
An approximate 24,000 people have already died.
Although stigma and discriminations are very high in the country, doctors and awareness groups are urging people living with HIV/AIDS to seek treatment, to decrease their death expectancy and to live a healthy life.
Margaret Marabe is a person living with HIV/AIDS. She has come out of her comfort zone, and has formed an organisation called Hela Positive Living Network Association.
The organisation will be based in Hela Province to provide in-depth HIV community awareness, training, and advocacy on issues concerning people like Margaret, to reduce stigma and discrimination in Hela Province.
Meanwhile, the National Aids Council Secretariat Director, Peter Bire, said Papua New Guinea needs Economic Empowerment to support the citizens to live a healthy and a successful life.