17 Jul 2008

PNG welcomes new HIV testing process

3:20 pm on 17 July 2008

Papua New Guinea's National Aids Council Secretariat says new recommendations to improve HIV testing will greatly assist its work in hard to reach areas.

The recommendations come from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and are expected to improve HIV testing in remote island areas.

They advise on expanding testing facilities to include antenatal and STI clinics as well as counselling services.

The manager of the National Aids Council in PNG, David Passirem, says poor infrastructure in areas like the Highlands in Papua New Guinea is a major barrier to HIV testing.

"The infrastructure has degraded to the lowest level. And then costings in terms of getting those samples flown in to a central processing laboratory - that would be in Port Moresby. I mean that's a heck of a lot of things to do, a lot of demands, to put through to it to make sure that you reach the road, and the road is accessible to the nearest airport and then see if the plane is coming - and then [what] if the plane doesn't come? So these are the sorts of setbacks to urge us to try and make services readily available on one's doorstep."

David Passirem, the manager of the National Aids Council secretariat in PNG