19 Aug 2004

WHO says PNG could have a million Aids cases in ten years

10:31 am on 19 August 2004

The World Health Organisation is warning one million people in Papua New Guinea could be affected by Aids within ten years.

The organisation's regional director for the West Pacific, Shigeru Omi, says given the current level of infection and the rate of increase it's possible that the number of infections could reach one million in 10 to 15 years.

Mr Omi says that figure can be avoided if decisive action is taken now.

At least 150 people are infected each month, which is an increase of 20 per cent per year.

The WHO representative in Port Moresby, Yves Renault, says the country is looking at what he describes as an "African-style" epidemic.

Mr Renault, who's spent 16 years with the WHO in Africa, says the tribalism in Papua New Guinea makes prevention programmes difficult.

He says there is no notion of general community.