By TONY PALME
JIWAKA is the worst-hit Highlands province in HIV/AIDS infection among school-aged people, according to provincial HIV response coordinator Kuk Gola.
Gola provided the information at the weekend at Kalanga village in North Waghi before deputy governor Opai Kunagel, acting provincial police commander Horim Piamia, North Waghi district administrator John Kumie, leaders from the Kulaka tribe and people of Kimil, Bunum Wo and Sigri.
He said youths between the ages 13 and 25 were the most affected group in Jiwaka, which was the highest among the Highlands provinces although all the figures were not available.
“The province is only six years old but seeing the trend in which our young people are in danger of HIV is worrying,” Gola said.
“The future of the province is at stake. We can no longer keep it confidential.”
The news has shocked Governor Dr William Tongamp.
He said they had monthly awareness programmes for schools in which they distribute information booklet to teachers and students about HIV/AIDS.
The HIV programme in Jiwaka has received some funding support from Unicef, Baptist Union PNG, Family Health International 360 and the Jiwaka government over the last four years.
Gola thanked them for the support which has enabled them to run some programmes.
He said the increase in the HIV prevalence rate among the young population was detected through pregnant girls and young people who went for treatment.
By TONY PALME