22 Jun 2005

PNG minister says church help needed to curb AIDS

3:47 pm on 22 June 2005

The Papua New Guinea Minister for Community Development, Lady Carol Kidu, says the churches and communities are critical to arresting the spread of HIV/Aids.

Papua New Guinea has soaring levels of HIV infection, with estimates of around 50,000 sufferers in the country.

Lady Carol says while the Government has made moves to try and deal with the virus, it is not having an impact at the base.

She says the Government is establishing links with the churches because they are the most relevant organisations to people at community level in PNG.

"We just don't have public servants out on the ground because we have to cut our public service. So there have been strategic linkages made with the churches. The churches were a bit slow in the beginning but they are really becoming quite pro-active now, and only a few churches are being a bit fundamental and taking a line that is not in line with the Government."

Lady Carol says those churches opposed to promoting condom use are being encouraged to direct people to where they can get the information they need to make an informed choice.