By ELIZABETH MIAE
NATIONAL AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) director Wep Kanawi is calling on men around the country to get tested for HIV as the country prepares to commemorate the World AIDS Day on Dec 1.
He said men and women must go out and get tested to know their HIV status since it was their right and they owed it to their lives.
Kanawi said the reported cases for HIV/AIDS in the country was more than 34,000 of which majority of the positive cases were reported from the antenatal clinics at hospitals and health centres in the country.
However, he said there were many more out there that did not know their status and encouraged men to get tested, adding that they should not hideaway because care, counselling and treatment services were available and accessible.
Kanawi was speaking during a media briefing on the preparations on the World AIDS Day last Friday.
The main highlight of the day would be the launching of the PNG National HIV and AIDS Strategy 2011-15 (NHS) and the new NACS logo.
This year’s national theme for World AIDS Day is Testim na Tritim-Emi rait blong yu! (Get tested and treated-it’s your right) while the global theme is focusing on universal access and human rights.
Kanawi announced that a total of K900,000 that was approved by the National AIDS Council for World AIDS Day had been broken up and distributed to all provincial AIDS committees (PACs) two months ahead in preparation for the event.
He said provinces that had high prevalence rates of HIV received between K35,000 and K40,000 while provinces with low prevalence rates received between K25,000 and K30,000.
He said those PACs that had abided by the council’s directives and submitted their acquittals would be given recognition as well.
“This national event is going to be commemorated all over the country and we need to get the message out to remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS.
“A lot of people have died from HIV/AIDS (about 6million) in the world and in PNG, about 6,000.”
He said people had died as a result of ignorance and stigma and the country needed to take time off and remember those who had died.
The main event will be held in Port Moresby beginning with the AIDS walk at the Somare Foundation to the Sir John Guise Stadium where the heart of activities will be staged at.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will officially launch the NHS 2011-15.