PNG is dealing with an HIV/AIDS epidemic. A high incidence of sexual aggression, violence against women, the impact of alcohol and drugs on sexual behavior and commercial sex are just some of the reasons for the level of HIV infection in the country.
On World Aids Day on December 1, 2014, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said PNG was a particular focus for the Australian Government.
She says the Government is providing $200 million over three years to The Global Fund - "the largest amount that any Government has ever provided" - because "we can't be complacent when it comes to the fight against AIDS".
"Although HIV infections and deaths have declined pretty dramatically around the world, the fact is that more people are receiving treatment, including more than 11,000 people in Papua New Guinea, and that's a particular focus for me," she told the media.
On the same day, Stuart Watson, the UNAIDS country coordinator from Papua New Guinea, agreed there was no room for complacency.
He said there was still cause for concern, although PNG had not followed the problems of sub-Saharan Africa, as feared a decade ago.
"While we have made quite a bit of progress and we have brought the rate down... there is now beginning to be an increase and that's very worrying," he said.
ABC Fact Check takes a look at the HIV/AIDS problem in Papua New Guinea.
The virus spreads
According to a 2009 United Nations report, HIV was first diagnosed in PNG in 1987. In the late 1980s, PNG accounted for 21 per cent of all new cases of HIV in the Pacific.
According to the World Health Organisation, HIV was the leading cause of death at Port Moresby General Hospital in 2005. It found that the "high incidence of sexual aggression and other forms of violence against women appear to be fuelling the growth of the epidemic".
By 2008 PNG accounted for 99 per cent of new cases in the Pacific. The UN report estimated that 54,000 people in PNG were living with HIV in 2008 and that unprotected sex was the main mode of transmission of AIDS across all countries in the Pacific.
It found that the primary reasons for HIV infection were gender inequality, gender-based violence, the impact of alcohol and drugs on sexual behaviour, and commercial sex.
PNG's HIV problem has been described by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) as a "concentrated" epidemic, with certain key population groups and geographical locations affected disproportionately.
A study of 593 sex workers in Port Moresby in 2010 found 17 per cent were HIV positive.
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