Agency releases HIV test figures

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday December 17th, 2013

 MORE than 17,000 pregnant women were tested and counselled at the Catholic HIV/AIDS facilities during the first antenatal clinic this year in the country.

This figure was released by the National Catholic AIDS Council (NCAC) to all the 115 Catholic-run facilities during the 22nd World AIDS Day last week.

The 2013 figures showed that 61,422 people in PNG had undergone voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) so far this year, 3363 got their antiretroviral treatment from Catholic facilities, 21,627 people between the ages 15 and 24 were reached through HIV awareness and 994 couples had undergone counselling. In total 17,276 pregnant women were tested and counselled.

VCT is offered in 115 Catholic–run facilities located in every province except Northern.

In the Diocese of Bougainville, the World AIDS Day celebrations at Hahela was observed with various singing activities and dramas staged by groups and children.

Diocese HIV coordinator Stella Morokana urged more people to come for HIV test to know their status.

“When you get tested and know your HIV status, it helps you to manage your life well” she said.

She said in 2012, 1,926 pregnant women got antenatal/HIV tests. About 6, 727 were tested for HIV/AIDS the same year.

Morokana said due to the commitments of the VCT counsellors in the Diocese-run health facilities, there will be a consistent improvement in 2013.

Buka hospital chief executive officer Dr Cyril Imako said the current figure of people living with HIV was one hundred (100) in Bougainville  according to reports released by the Bougainville AIDS Monitoring, Evaluation and Surveillance team.

Imako said HIV/AIDS problem was a challenge to be addressed by all the key stakeholders, including the Autonomous Bougainivlle Government.