Ribat: HIV cases up by 10,000

National

ABOUT 46,500 people, an increase of nearly 10,000 in two years, are living with HIV, according to Cardinal Sir John Ribat.
“In 2016 it was estimated that there were fewer than 3000 new infections of which nearly a quarter were children and youths,” he said during the World AIDS Day on Friday.
Cardinal Ribat, who is chairman of Christian Leaders Alliance against HIV/AIDS, said AIDS epidemic was alarming because out of the 3000 new infections, 750 were children and adolescents.
Cardinal Ribat said the increase of the number of people getting infected was also alarming because it was a threat to the future of the country.
“We need to think about our children and youths if we are worried about the future of this country,” he said.
“Many innocent babies, children and adolescents, young adults and parents have been affected and have died as a result of the disease since 1987.
“In the past year, it was estimated that more than 1500 people died from AIDS-related illness in 2015.”
Cardinal Ribat urged the Government to increase funding for HIV/AIDS.
“If we are to end the AIDS epidemic then our response should be focused on actions that is directed towards producing results,” he
said.
“The right to health is fundamental because everyone has the right to have access to standard health service both physical and mental in the country.”
Cardinal Ribat said everyone had the right to access health service and so HIV victims should not be treated with discrimination and stigma.
He assured the Government, Health Department, the National AIDS Council Secretariat, UNAIDS and relevant stakeholders and partners that churches in Papua New Guinea would assist the AIDS
council with the implementation of the national HIV strategy 2018-2039.
“Christian churches in PNG have been, and will continue to be vital in efforts to provide hope and support for many people affected by the AIDS epidemic.”

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