2 Aug 2004

British diplomat alarmed at PNG HIV rate

1:30 pm on 2 August 2004

The British High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, David Gordon-MacLeod, has told a meeting in Port Moresby that the HIV/Aids infection rate has now gone past the critical level of one per cent.

He told the Chamber of Commerce that PNG now had 80 thousand people suffering from HIV/AIDS and at one and a half per cent of the population that set it on course for an exponential rise.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that Mr MacLeod has also spent time in Southern Africa where he observed the impact of the HIV/ AIDS crisis.

He said employers should promote voluntary HIV testing of their workers, along with assurances that any employee testing positive would not lose his or her job.

Mr MacLeod said if the issue was not addressed, PNG could face a drop in the number of people capable of being part of the workforce.