Counsellor calls for help

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday November 5th, 2013

 A MAN living with the HIV/AIDS has urged health authorities to support the Idinad STI and HIV clinic in Madang.

Steven Jano, who works for the clinic as a counsellor, said the lack of attention had resulted in more people defaulting on anti-retroviral treatment.

Jano is concerned because the clinic, located at the back of the Modilon General Hospital grounds, had not been given adequate support by government authorities.

Jano is one of five volunteers – all HIV positive people – paid by the Family Health International as counsellors at the clinic.

He said it was through their involvement and counselling that many people tested positive turned up at the clinic.

“We had the community home-based care programme run by Real Involvement of People Living with HIV/Aids (RIPA) which brought us face to face with people in deteriorating conditions,” he said. 

“This enabled us to educate the home-based carers about stigma and the disease. It was a means of doing follow up with patients.”

The five sites running the programme are Sek, Riwo, Newtown, Danben and Krangket.

The AusAid-funded programme has since been stopped because of mismanagement of the project. But Jano said the programme must be revived because infected people were sexually active.

“Since it ended, there has been a total lack of follow up for people with opportunity infection, those not on ART but with infection, and those with infection and on ART,” he said. He said they needed a vehicle to move around.