17 Sep 2008

New approach needed in Australian health warning over HIV contraction in region

10:02 pm on 17 September 2008

Australian health officials say they will need to adopt a whole new approach so that their message can reach middle-aged businessmen who contract HIV/AIDS while on overseas trips.

Australian health specialists are alarmed after a cluster of businessmen contracted HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex while on worktrips to Papua New Guinea.

PNG has the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the Pacific, with some estimates saying up to two hundred thousand people are infected.

The Western Australian AIDS centre executive director, Trish Langdon, says the borders are becoming increasingly fluid.

"This is actually a new phenomenon and what makes it a bit different to the way Australia has responded in the past is that we've used a community or peer based response. With heterosexual men, there's no community or peer group. We must look at slightly different responses."

Trish Langdon says they must start to run awareness campaigns about condom use at home to tackle the problem succefully.