HIV/AIDS responses need to be refocused

National

By OGIA MIAMEL
THE country needs to fast-track its responses to HIV and AIDS by refocusing on existing approaches rather than coming up with new ones, UNAIDS country representative Stuart Watson says.
Watson said during the HIV Summit for PNG Christian Leaders in Port Moresby, partners should continue to work together by ensuring that resources were invested strategically to achieve a better outcome.
“HIV prevalence is continuing to increase from 0.7 per cent of the general population of Papua New Guinea to 0.8 per cent in 2016.
Now the figures just completed last week showed 0.19 per cent this year,” Watson said.
“This translates to 46,500 people living with HIV – an increase of 10,000 Papua New Guinea valuable citizens in a two-year period.
“Last year we estimated that there were some 3000 new infections.” He said the worrying thing right now was the decrease in the number of people coming for testing and treatment.
“We are testing and treating even fewer and fewer people than in the past years,” he said.
UN Women country representative Adekemi Nidieli said gender-based violence cases were the root cause of the transmission and spread of HIV.
“Physical violence used to coerce unprotected sex puts fear in the heart of people and causes them to act in a way that reduces their ability to negotiate safe sex.
“In terms of sexual violence it is typically perpetrated without a condom,” she said.
“Why have we put condoms in the hands of a man?
“Why not have female condoms everywhere?
“Female condoms are not readily available and they are more expensive than male condom,” Nidieli said.

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