8 Feb 2007

Australian think tank highlights continued health crisis in PNG caused by HIV/AIDS

8:58 am on 8 February 2007

An Australian think tank has highlighted the continued health crisis in Papua New Guinea caused by the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Centre for Independent Studies says PNG is faced with an emergency as at least 120,000 people are now likely to have HIV/AIDS.

In a paper released today, the CIS says if present rising infection trends persist, 18 percent of the population could be affected by 2010 which would mean more than one million individuals.

It also warns that by 2020 a quarter of the population could have the virus and by then PNG may lose a million lives to AIDS.

The study says the HIV virus is attacking a population already debilitated by a variety of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea diseases.

The CIS says a crumbling health infrastructure, particularly in rural communities means that the extent of the epidemic is probably underestimated.