6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are?

 Awareness billboard on HIV/AIDs, Photo Credit: Phillip Hamedi
Awareness billboard on HIV/AIDs, Photo Credit: Phillip Hamedi

The HIV/AIDS is a major health problem in Papua New Guinea. Malaria, pneumonia and TB are the other major health problems.The first case of HIV/AIDS in PNG was recorded in 1987. Since that year the disease has progressed rapidly. In 2008, the cumulative number of reported HIV infections in the country was 28,294. The national HIV prevalence rate increased from around 0.01 percent in 1987 to about 0.95 percent in 2006, and has remained more or less constant after that year.In 2008, the reported number of new annual HIV infections in the country was 5,084. Of the newly infected persons, 38% were males and 62% were females.By age group, 94.5% of the newly infected persons were in the age group 15-59 years, 4.0% were in the age group 0-14 years, and the rest 1.5% were in the age group 60 years and over.

The national targets on MDG 6 are to have controlled by 2015 and stabilized the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2020, and to have controlled by 2015, and either stabilized or reversed the incidence of pneumonia, malaria and other major diseases by 2020. It appears that the rate of increase in HIV infection has been slowing down since 2005.

Tuberculosis:TB has a very high community transmission rate and consequently it has a high disease burden. In recent years, childhood TB represented more than 30 percent of all TB cases treated in PNG. Moreover, TB contributes significantly to the high level of mortality at early childhood. Through its very close association with HIV/AIDS, the incidence of death from TB will almost certainly increase in the years to come.

Pneumonia: “The forgotten killer”: Pneumonia is a very serious disease. In PNG, it is the leading cause of death (followed by malaria). According to the published figures, between 1995 and 2001, there has been a marginal decline in the death rate from this illness from about 20 per 100,000 to about 17 per 100,000. The Highlands and Northern Regions are most affected. The above rates are almost certainly under-estimates since surveillance systems are inadequate. Children in particular are affected.For children under 12 months, pneumonia is the leading cause of death. In children under 5, pneumonia as cause of death is only second to malaria.

Malaria:Malaria is endemic in all coastal provinces of PNG. In fact, malaria and HIV/AIDS are now the leading causes of death in PNG. Amongst the recorded deaths alone, deaths from malaria average between 600 and 700 per year. This is mainly from cerebral malaria. There is some evidence that, since 1995, the death rate from malaria, based on recorded cases may have decreased very marginally from 14 to slightly below 13 per 100,000. However, once again, this is based on recorded deaths only. nulla.

Targets for MDG6
  1. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
    • Condom use at last high-risk sex
    • Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
    • Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
    • Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs