Only half the number infected on treatment: Dr Ryan

National

By EHEYUC SESERU
HALF of the HIV/AIDS detected cases in the country were under antiretroviral treatment while those who were not was a concern to h 5ealth authorities.
Mamose Regional HIV/AIDS coordinator Dr Elsie Ryan said more than 21,000 HIV positive people were on antiretroviral (ART) treatment.
She said 40,148 HIV/AIDS cases were recorded in PNG since 1987.
Ryan said only 50 per cent of the recorded cases were on ART treatment, while those not on treatment were living in communities and were not helping themselves to live longer, which the treatment was there purposely for them.
She said the ART treatment was introduced in 2006 with only 21,198 HIV positive recorded cases were on treatment since then.
“20,028 are adults and 1170 are children under 15 years of age, who are living and on treatment,” said Ryan.
She said 2649 adults and 421 children under 14 years of age were detected positive last year.
Ryan said HIV/AIDS was a multi sectored disease and people have to take responsibility by abstaining from sexual activity with multiple partners and stick to one partner.
She said the health department does not promote the use of condoms but if people cannot abstain or remain faithful to one sexual partner, then condoms would be the only resort for them to stay protected from spreading or contracting the virus.
She said condom was just an object and did not promote promiscuity but its peoples own desires and will.
Ryan said they still need to use condoms for protection.
She said they are working towards getting 90 per cent of estimated persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) for testing, 90 per cent of those already tested are on ART treatment and getting 90 per cent of PLHIV effectively suppressing the virus. “This is getting tested and treatment, which is different from zero HIV/AIDS,” Ryan said. “The Zero HIV/AIDS target was hard so we want the realistic target of testing and treatment.”

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