7 Feb 2003

PNG Aids Council warns of economic problems

4:22 pm on 7 February 2003

The Papua New Guinea National Aids Council is disputing claims by a health expert that 7 percent of the country's school population is infected with sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

The Council's Director, Dr Ninkama Moiya says figures allegedly given by the Dean of PNG's Medicine School did not come from his office.

The figures also said that 20 percent of people between 18 to 25 years have STDs.

But Dr Moiya says he agrees with the Dean for the need to highlight the problems with young people contracting such diseases.

He says there is also concern about the rate of HIV transmissions from mother to child, with trends, he says, that threaten the country's future.

"We're going to be left in that situation where a lot of our young people will be infected by HIV; we don't have a reliable treatment like anti-retro viral drugs, which is quite difficult to get. We're going to be left with a situation where young people die and you cannot support the economy of this country because of lack of, or very much reduced, manpower."

Dr Ninkama Moiya, the Director of PNG's National Aids Council