10 Jun 2014

Volunteers in PNG help reduce stigma surrounding AIDS

5:54 pm on 10 June 2014

A community worker in Papua New Guinea's Goroka says one of the key successes in helping reduce stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS has been using local volunteers who can speak the local language.

Steve Layton is the co-director of ATprojects in Goroka, which revolves around community home-base care, with 42 volunteers working in 10 communities.

He says they are currently providing assistance to over 200 people with full-blown AIDS, and all volunteers are trained to do pre-counselling for those who seek assistance.

Mr Layton says they've had real success with lowering the level of stigma by using local volunteers that locals feel comfortable confiding in.

"That means in a community, your Mum, Dad, Aunty, Uncle, second cousin may be a volunteer. It seems to be much easier at least, for people to go and talk to their close relatives in a clan and say look, I may have a problem, what can I do? Rather than some complete stranger who may or may not visit and most probably can't speak the local language. And that seems to be a real key."

The co-director of ATprojects in Goroka, Steve Layton.