June 14, 2011
Australia has announced a new grant of US$11.8 million to fight HIV in Papua New Guinea, whose AIDS epidemic is Asia-Pacific's second-worst, after Thailand. The additional funding will go toward preventing mother-to-baby transmission of HIV, particularly in PNG's Highlands, where the rate of such infections is high, said Kevin Rudd, Australia's foreign minister. The money, which will be used in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, also will help provide pediatric care for more than 700 children with HIV, Rudd said. AusAID reports that 100,000 PNG residents were tested for HIV last year. In recent years, Australia's government has funded 60 percent of PNG's AIDS fight.