An AusAID study in Papua New Guinea predicts the country stands to lose about 40 percent of its labour force over the next 15 years as HIV/AIDS takes a hold.
The National Aids Council Secretariat says the research -- raised at a meeting recently - reinforces the need for more government funding to tackle the problem.
The director of the secretariat, Dr Ninkama Moiya, says there are 150 HIV cases reported each month, mostly from under 35-year-olds.
Dr Moiya says polygamy, particularly in the highlands where it is traditional, is contributing to the spread of the virus.
"PNG AIDS TP"
We've already heard stories of tragedies happening in the highlands where one member of the polygamy family contracts HIV and then the HIV spreads within that circle and the whole family ring wipes out.
Dr Moiya says sexual promiscuity brought on by alcohol consumption by young people out nightclubbing is also contributing to the epidemic.