11 Apr 2006

UPNG students angry about former vice chancellor's HIV comment

3:33 pm on 11 April 2006

Some students at the University of Papua New Guinea are outraged at claims by the former vice-chancellor Professor Les Eastcott that 12 percent of the student population is HIV positive.

The students are now demanding the Professor to disclose the source of his data.

In a speech at last week's graduation, Prof Eastcott said that would mean 360 students of the current 3,000 full-time students enrolled are HIV positive.

When asked to confirm the figures, a representative of the National Capital District provincial AIDS committee told the newspaper, The National, that they do they have any data to back up the figures.

Dr Joachim Pantumari, a senior medical adviser with the National AIDS Council Secretariat, said the PNG national HIV prevalence rate is 2.7 percent and the national estimate of people living with HIV infection and AIDS is 70,000.

He said the student population at UPNG is a mixture of students entering the university from different places, and this could be one explanation of such a high figure.