Official: People living with HIV vulnerable

National

PEOPLE living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS) are vulnerable to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and must take their regular treatment, National AIDS Council acting deputy director Tony Lupiwa says.
When revealing the national statistics in a media conference yesterday, he said about 55,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2020 in Papua New Guinea.
Of the total, 48,000 were aged between 15 and 49, 3,200 were minors up to 14.
About 3,400 new cases are recorded annually averaging at least nine infections daily.
Lupiwa said from the total, 34,018 were on Anti-Retro Viral (ART) treatment which made 62 per cent and 605 deaths recorded, but there could have been more deaths that went unrecorded.
“The numbers are increasing every year and people living with HIV/AIDS are the most vulnerable to the Covid-19 because their immune system are not effective to fight the Covid-19,” he said, urging people who might be at high risk of being positive to get tested.
“If you think that you may be at HIV risk, go to the clinic and get tested.
“And if you are found positive, you will be put on treatment the same day,” he added.
Lupiwa said ART stopped the replication of the virus in the blood, and if a person had been faithful to his or her doses, “they can live a normal life and die of old age”.
He said the Government had funded the ART drug through the Health Department to reduce to reduce the numbers deaths, unlike before the introduction of the drug.

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