70,000 living with HIV estimated in PNG: Igat Hope

PORT MORESBY, 26 JUNE 2018 (POST COURIER) – People Living with HIV in Papua New Guinea are now estimated to be about 70,000, according to Igat Hope.

Board president of Igat Hope and person living with HIV (PLHIV) Janet Sangopa said that not all of these people know their HIV status and not all of them understand their illness and how to manage it.

“This is something we need to urgently address.

“We would like to be involved in community-level HIV counselling and testing to improve knowledge of HIV status; using some of the strategies used in the recent HIV integrated bio behavioural surveillance study to reach people who have not yet been reached.

“Igat Hope wants to continue and strengthen its role in helping to improve the quality of clinical care as too many of our friends are still dying,” she said.

She said their peer educators and counsellors are playing an important role in linking newly diagnosed people with HIV to treatment and in helping them to stay on treatment.

“We are also supporting adherence to treatment and reducing loss to follow-up by sending our peers into communities to help people living with stay connected to clinics for their care,” She said.

Sangopa said the recent stock outs of ART and of the medicines to treat opportunistic infections have demonstrated that their ART and other medicines procurement and supply systems need urgent attention.

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