‘We need funds to fight HIV’

National, Normal


STRONG leadership is needed to fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Parliamentary HIV/AIDS committee chairman Jamie Maxtone-Graham said on Wednesday.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said it was sad PNG  leaders were still ignorant about the seriousness of this epidemic.
He said that had they been concerned, the virus would have been halted while it was still in towns and urban settings.
He said right now, the virus had spread throughout the country and into the rural areas, which posed logistical challenges on getting help out there to our people.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said governments only reacted when there was a natural disaster.
 He said factors such as illiteracy, gender inequality, sicknesses, poverty and many social issues all contribute to the increase in HIV rates and called for the people and the Government to work together to try to combat it.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said that he was extremely frustrated because he had a lot to do but since they had not received any funding, they had not done anything.
“As a leader, I am more interested in facts and figures on the extent of the epidemic. To get these, my committee needs money to travel and visit partners, see what they are doing, and to also conduct independent enquiries into NACS and all stakeholders.
“HIV is a very serious epidemic which will affect our future. Right now, we are focusing on activities that will ensure an economic boom, we are building infrastructures here and there, but if we don’t address HIV, who is going to be around to enjoy them?” he said.
Mr Maxtone-Graham said that people must be reminded that they should be vigilant to continue the fight against HIV.