Papua New Guinea Post Courier (09.02.03) - Wednesday,
More than 500 health professionals and researchers from Papua
New Guinea and overseas are in Mt. Hagen for the 39th Medical
Symposium, which began Monday. The PNG Medical Society is
hosting the gathering, whose theme is "The HIV/AIDS Epidemic
in Papua New Guinea."
Professor Mathias Sapuri, president of the PNG Medical Society
and executive dean of the School of Medicine and Health
Sciences of the University of PNG, said the devastation caused
by the epidemic since the nation's first case was reported in
1987 has become a major concern for government,
nongovernmental organizations and international communities.
"HIV/AIDS is no longer just a health problem. As the
stereotype of PNG is rapidly changing, so also are the various
dimensions of HIV/AIDS [social demographic, cultural, economic
and gender issues]. It also carries with it a burden, not only
to the victim but his/her family, relatives and the society at
large," Sapuri said.
Papua New Guinea currently leads the other Pacific nations in
the number of HIV infections, Sapuri said. In the North
Capital District alone, about 100 new cases are reported each
month at Port Moresby General Hospital.
Topics of the 48 papers to be presented include more effective
ways to control the epidemic's spread; how to provide adequate
care for infected persons; reports on mechanisms of
transmission for better control; and treatment accessibility.
West Highlands Governor and former Prime Minister Paias Wingti
welcomed the participants and commended the medical society
for taking on such a challenging theme for the symposium.