27 Sep 2005

UN Pacific Aids programme dismisses suggestions a third of PNG's Lae city have HIV

6:49 pm on 27 September 2005

The United Nations Pacific AIDS programme is dismissing suggestions a third of the population in the Papua New Guinea city of Lae may have HIV.

The suggestion comes from Joan Ganoka of the Morobe Provincial Aids Committee, who says there's been a big rise in HIV cases since official studies in 2003 and 2004 identified two-point-five percent of the population as having either HIV or AIDS.

But the UN AIDS programme coordinator for the Pacific, Stuart Watson, says there's no way the number of people with HIV and AIDS is that high in Lae.

While the illness is under-reported throughout the Pacific, he says no more than eight or nine percent of the population in PNG would be infected.

Mr Watson says that's still extremely high, putting PNG on a par with countries like Sierra Leone.



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