Our second health lesson at STEP was about HIV and AIDS. We spent a whole day learning about the disease and then producing posters and other materials in tok ples to be used in the village. There are a lot of common misconceptions in PNG about HIV, and stigmatization of those affected is a big problem.
Here are a few statistics about HIV in Papua New Guinea:
- In 2008, about 2% of the population was HIV positive. It’s estimated that by 2012 , 5% (one in 20) will be infected.
- Papua New Guinea has the highest infection rate out of the whole Pacific region.
- While previously infection was concentrated in urban areas, there is now a higher infection rate in rural areas.
Here is the poster that Jecobeth did, illustrating the statistic about how the infection rate is expected to increase by 2012:
Matthew’s poster reads “Don’t buy AIDS,” warning those who pay for sex that they may be getting more than they bargained for.