RESIDENTS of Lae were told during the World AIDS Day celebrations to focus on improving their families and applying Christian principles in their lives if they want to make an impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Guest speakers who attended the celebrations yesterday were passionate about improving family lives when they addressed more than a thousand people at the Niall Reserve at Eriku.
Deputy programme adviser for health, Micah Yawing said the family was the first institution a person would have to enter in his or her lifetime, and it was important that parents had a positive influence in the lives of their children, before they ventured out into the world.
He said HIV/AIDS had become a socio-economic problem and parents had the responsibility of preparing their children to be responsible persons in both social and economical situations that they would encounter in the future.
National coordinator for the Lutheran Life Care Amad Uma said that since the HIV/AIDS virus was detected in Papua New Guinea 22 years ago, the number of people infected with the virus had been increasing as was notable in the number of cases in the rural areas.
An appeal was made to the churches to teach Christian morals to its members.
Mrs Uma said the basis of avoiding diseases like HIV/AIDS was stated in the Bible on the abstinence from fornication and adultery.
The celebrations were highlighted with a marching band of students and stakeholders who marched from the Lae General Post Office to the Niall Reserve.
At the sports ground, theatre groups performed dances and plays depicting HIV/AIDS.
Stakeholders also had their stalls set up to inform people about the prevention, treatment, care and support of the virus and people living with it.