Papua New Guinea: AIDS "Reporting" to See Increase
April 15, 2003
In the last quarterly report, 6,103 people had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea and the figure is likely to increase as the testing and reporting system improves. National AIDS Council Statistical Officer Agnes Gege said Thursday the council is now publishing quarterly reports on HIV/AIDS that indicate a rise in cases. More than 150 cases are being reported every month, she said, but the system cannot tell whether they are all new cases. Some people testing positive in other centers could also be traveling to Port Moresby for confirmation if they did not feel they trusted the testing facilities in provincial centers, she said.
"This is the beginning of getting reports. With all the awareness that is going on, we expect the figures to increase at least for some years," Gege said. The last NAC report was in September of last year.
Gege said the statistics were drawn from blood transfusion services, STD clinics and clinical diagnoses. At the Port Moresby General Hospital, women attending the antenatal clinic are also being tested for HIV/AIDS. This is done after pre-test counseling is done through a group.
The testing is voluntary, Gege said. However, when a patient is not reacting to treatment, consent may be sought for a test to be done. All the provincial hospitals were carrying out tests, but these were being done with the patient's consent. NAC Director Dr. Ninkama Moiya confirmed reports from Gege that legislation is before Parliament that, among other purposes, would ensure a patient gives consent before his or her blood is drawn for an HIV test.
Papua New Guinea Post-Courier
04.11.03; Maureen Gerawa
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.