By Petrus GAND
HIV/AIDS remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. It is silently killing far more people than the coronavirus and other curable diseases.
It was projected that around 37.7 million people were living with HIV worldwide in 2020, while an estimated 1.8 million new infections occurred the same year. Approximately 5.2 million people were living with HIV in the Asia and Pacific region, which is the third highest in the world after the two African regions, the Western and Eastern Africa.
The virus continues to be a major public health problem in PNG. Around 48 000 people were estimated to be living with HIV in PNG in 2020, when official data was obtainable. Upon that massive figure, 59% of them being women of 15 years and older and 7% being children less than 14 years. Despite having made significant progress in increasing access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy and HIV prevention interventions, transmission still remains high in many sub-populations and geographic locations.
The GoPNG through the Department of Health (DoH) has exhausted millions of kina to end the pandemic but has widespread since its entry in 1987. It is equally a costly and frightening issue and must be eliminated.
The safety of the general constituents is paramount than those who acquired the sickness through their own wrongdoings. A high incidence of sexual aggression, violence against women, the impact of alcohol on sexual behaviours and commercial sex are just some of the reasons for the level of HIV infection in the country. But, if the DoH maintains to supply condoms then it is indirectly encouraging people to have more sex for pleasure and gain, increasing the vulnerability of adultery and related social issues. Likewise if doses are persistently supplied then those who are infected will still remain healthy, unnoticed like ordinary people and continue to transmit the virus.
Hence, our need is how are we going to contain this deadly virus?
If the GoPNG wants to save some penny for other essential socio-economic activities, it must make it mandatory that whoever is infected must be recorded under a specific database and be monitored at all circumstances or put under solitary confinement. And if they want to move freely like ordinary individuals, they must have something attached to them to self-identify among others.
Reveal their identity by ensuring that they wear a recommended bracelet or so in order that it will help the citizens to recognise them and avoid having contact with them. This can definitely help because people will know who they are interacting with.
Over to you our loyal leaders for your mystical interference in this life-threatening predicament.