THE Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry has taken on a new initiative of ensuring that employees and their employers are fully equipped to address HIV/AIDS in their workplaces.
This approach taken by the chamber is in response to an invitation made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to implement a project aimed at mobilising the private sector in Lae to respond to gender and HIV/AIDS issues.
When the ADB was approached by the Government for funding to carry out major expansions to the Lae Ports, ADB saw the need to implement the project and asked the chamber to coordinate this approach.
In January this year, US$750,000 (K2 million) was directed to implementing this project over three years.
Coordinator for the project Nellie McLay said that “experiences around the world and in PNG showed that large infrastructure construction projects contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS especially when it is connected with the transport sector”.
“The influx of male workers and would be workers, and the rapid growth of entertainment services, to tap into the new wealth of men away from their families, can lead to a massive upsurge in sexually risky behaviours that promote the spread of HIV,” she said.
The first participants of this mobilisation project graduated from a peer education training workshop. The workshop was attended by 15 participants from PNG Ports, stevedoring and other shipping and trucking companies as well.
These participants have been trained to train their colleagues to better understand the risks they are involved in and how best they can avoid and approach risky behaviour.