UN says progress poor on AIDS in PNG
A human rights advisor at Papua New Guinea's United Nations Aids agency says the country is struggling to make any progress on achieving the Millenium Development goal of reducing HIV.
A human rights advisor with the United Nations AIDS agency in Papua New Guinea says the country is struggling to make any progress on achieving the Millenium Development Goal of reducing HIV.
Jamila Jarrakhova says UNAIDS estimates there are 31,000 people affected by AIDS and HIV in Papua New Guinea.
She told Jenny Meyer about continuing high levels of discrimination and how different studies make it difficult to compare current rates of the illness with the past.
Ms Jarrakhova says the government needs to take ownership of the AIDS problem as donor agencies such as the Australian government and the Global Fund have indicated there is likely to be less money available to help tackle the issue in future.
JAMILA JARRAKHOVA: For example, a study which has been done in 2010 shows that among the women who are selling and exchanging sex it's 19%, and the men it's something around 9%. There is a study which has been done in Port Moresby, if I'm not mistaken, in 2010 among the transgender showing something around 23.7%. But as I said these studies and competitive analyses are to be done when the studies are conducted at the same time among these groups.
JENNY MEYER: Is there still the same stigma shown by the community against people with HIV?
JJ: Yes, unfortunately. We have just the first part of the stigma index study conducted in Papua New Guinea. This is not the final data but it clearly shows that it's quite high stigma and discrimination existing here. So people who are positive and living with HIV they encounter stigma and discrimination at all levels. At health facilities, with the police, in their social life, so it's quite a high number of the people, something around 70% reported on the discrimination which they are facing this.
JM; So do you think looking towards 2015, it's one of the Millenium Development Goals - managing HIV and bringing down the rates - that's only six months away now. Where do you think things are at for PNG? Are they just as bad as ever or better or worse?
JJ: We're not in good trajectory, we can hardly achieve any goals on Millenium Development. And even from the high level meeting ten targets, we can hardly achieve one of them.
JM; So that's quite a sad situation isn't it that there's been fifteen years go past and really not much has changed in terms of tackling this issue.
JJ: Yes we are trying for that. I mean UNAIDS is trying to pool all resources within UN with the co-sponsors and out of UN to bring the human and financial resources all together working on that. But unfortunately this is related to many other factors.
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