Thursday, April 28, 2011

HIV rife in Madang, EHP

By PORENI UMAU, Post Courier
MADANG and Eastern Highlands provinces have been revealed as provinces with very high number of youths with HIV infections.
This came from Natasha Uri, Youth Outreach Project (YOP) officer with Save the Children PNG in Madang.
Ms Uri said that because of the high HIV infection among youths between the ages of 15-25 years in Madang and Eastern Highlands, YOP offices were established only in both provinces.
She did not reveal the figures but said that both provinces had the highest HIV infection rates in PNG among the young people.
She said that this was the result of multiple or concurrent sexual partners, abuse of alcohol and drugs with the ’kisim wara na pasim sua’ expression among many youths or paid sex which was on the increase.
Ms Uri said other factors were sexual violence or rape outside and within families against young people, inconsistent and improper condom use or young people being discriminated when visiting health centres to acquire condoms.
She said that health workers insulted young people, saying they were too young and should not be engaging in sexual activities, forcing the young people to shy away, putting their lives in danger.
She also said there was limited access to service providers such as the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT).
She also said that traditional customs that forbid sex being discussed publicly was also another major factor that had restrained young people from getting enough information on sex to be aware of the dangers involved.
Ms Uri said that because of the increasing number of youths being infected with HIV, youth outreach projects were set up to provide awareness to youths on HIV prevention, how to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unwanted teenage pregnancies and also for the young people to access information on child rights.
She said that other services include referral to clinics, teach the youths on music, dance and sports skills and provide an avenue for young people to socialise and exchange ideas to shape a better life in the future.

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