HIV/AIDS remains big threat


HIV/AIDS remains a huge threat to national security and economic growth, an official says.
Valentine Tangoh, the regional manager for the National Aids Council Secretariat (NACS) told a workshop on gender equality and social inclusion in Port Moresby that fighting against HIV/AIDS was the responsibility of everyone.
“It is a developmental issue and must be addressed across all sectors,” Tangoh said.
“HIV should still be seen as a huge threat to Papua New Guineas’ national security and stability and economic growth.
“This is the fact that we as a country cannot deny.
“We need response from all sectors of the community and that can only be realised by integrating the aspects of HIV into policy documents.”
Tangoh said integrating HIV issues into the Medium Term Development Strategy was timely and could reach out to all government agencies and organisations, political leaders, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and communities.
“We must strengthen partnerships and integrations with government agencies, political leaders, government workers and teachers to take ownership of HIV in workplaces and teach students.
“We seriously need committed government funding through the annual budgetary allocations. Provincial administrators must take HIV issues seriously into their annual plans and their five-year development plans.”
He said HIV was already a major threat to PNG’s national security and stability and economic growth because an estimated 47,795 citizens were victims of the virus.
“And that’s just the estimated figure based on those who come to test and know of their HIV status.
“This figure might double that is something we still need to address. Real commitment from the Government in terms of resourcing and capacity building is very important.
“We need to conduct more studies and research especially in health, education and agriculture to identify impacts of HIV on the population,” he said.