8 Jul 2004

Aids cases revealed in PNG army ranks

8:16 am on 8 July 2004

The Papua New Guinea government says an Aids outbreak in the defence force threatens to ravage army ranks, with hundreds of soldiers infected.

The PNG Defence Minister says an alarming number of soldiers have been exposed to the virus, which threatens to destroy the army - if left unchecked.

Matthew Gubag says it's a big problem that needs serious attention.

He says there are worrying trends within the military barracks.

The senior medical advisor for the PNG National AIDS Council, Dr Joachim Pantumari, says one to two soldiers are dying of AIDS each month.

Within the Port Moresby Barracks alone there are about 108 soldiers suffering from AIDS.

He says this figure could be much higher once testing is done on other military units around the country.

Poverty and the Defence Force's work overseas have been touted as reasons behind the figures.