23 May 2007

Fears of worsening AIDS crisis in PNG

6:12 pm on 23 May 2007

There are signs of an exponential increase in HIV/AIDS cases in the heavily populated rural parts of Papua New Guinea.

While there are no official figures, estimates put the level of infection at over 100,000 or nearly two percent of the population.

Community Development Minister, Dame Carol Kidu, says she fears entire families could succumb to HIV in the rural areas.

Dame Carol says there appears to have been a levelling off of cases in urban areas such as Port Moresby while numbers with the disease in the Highlands have escalated dramatically.

"This is a major concern because they are the ones who have less access to services, less chance of having anti-retroviral drugs and things of that nature. I can personally see perhaps even complete family lines almost being wiped out by HIV the way it is looking by the rural growth rate."

Dame Carol Kidu