23 Mar 2007

HIV infection in PNG province on the rise

8:16 am on 23 March 2007

An aids worker says HIV infection is on the rise in the West Sepik province and a church organisation has blamed this on the frequent travels into Jayapura in Indonesia's Papua province.

Christian Brethren Church lay missionary and provincial AIDS worker Kevin Wassam told The National newspaper that the number of AIDS-related deaths in the province had risen in recent years, showing that the disease was spreading faster and also into East Sepik province.

Mr Wassam says in the remote Lumi district alone more than five public servants had died this year after contracting AIDS and he believed there may be more unidentified cases in other districts.

He says people in the West Sepik and Western provinces were exposed because of frequent travels and exchanges with Papua province, which also has a high incidence of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia.