1 Dec 2009

PNG marks World Aids day by raising community awareness

9:11 am on 1 December 2009

Papua New Guinea is marking World AIDS Day today by raising community awareness with a focus on rural areas.

This year's World AIDS day theme is campaigning for free universal testing and treatment worldwide.

Papua New Guinea is experiencing an AIDS epidemic, with the number of people affected growing daily, and sweeping into remote areas.

The National AIDS Council's director, Wep Kanawi, says they will have a media campaign, will distribute brochures and will broadcast information segments.

Mr Kanawi says HIV testing and treatment is free to date, but access is a problem for many people in rural areas.

"Anti-retroviral treatment is being provided free because it's been paid for by the global fund. But we have to start look at other sources where we can get funding from to fund it for a growing population."

Wep Kanawi says many people shun away from treatments afraid of being stigmatised.