By BOSORINA ROBBY
TESTING is an important component of knowing one’s status regarding HIV/AIDS.
It helps you to practice safe sex if you are negative and it allows you to receive care, counselling and treatment as immediately if you are tested positive, NCD Governor Powes Parkop said yesterday.
He said getting tested was one way individuals could make a difference in the HIV prevalence rates.
Speaking at the World AIDS Day celebrations in Port Moresby, Mr Parkop said many people did not know their status “until it becomes too late for treatment”.
With the theme “Making prevention, treatment, care and support accessible in PNG – it’s our right”, Mr Parkop said that only good leadership would achieve that.
The governor urged everyone to take ownership of their own lives and of HIV/AIDS by being good leaders.
“This is the only way to make a difference for yourself, your family and your country,” Mr Parkop said.
He said by taking action and doing something that would minimise the spread of the virus was one part of the change.
Mr Parkop added that one way of doing this was by going back and talking to your families, friends and relatives about the virus, and encouraging them to get themselves tested.
“In PNG, we have this custom that when it is pay week, everyone calls up for money,” Mr Parkop said.
“So now, use those same calls to put a condition that you will send money if they go for testing,” he added.
He said “a HIV positive person only dies if he/she did not care for themselves” by receiving proper care and counselling.
“But if they knew the status, they will know how to care for themselves,” he said.
In PNG, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate was 2% but recent increases in patients at VCT sites in the country show that this number may be raising, but this depends on the settings and where they are located.
Mr Parkop urged all those present at the celebrations to get themselves tested and to encourage all their relatives, friends and families to do the same.