PAPUA New Guinea has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections
of any country worldwide, according to Dr Andrew Vallely.
Speaking as the head of sexual and reproductive health research unit at the PNG institute of
Medical Research (PNGIMR), Dr Vallely said these infections are associated with
significant adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes.
These outcomes include cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility,
miscarriage, still birth, preterm birth and low birth weight.
During his presentation at the 50th Annual Medical Symposium titled: Sexual and reproductive health at the crossroads; new tools offer new hope, he noted that new research is dramatically improving our
understanding of the epidemiology of these infections among men and women at
different levels of sexual risk in PNG.
However, this has also highlighted the limited progress made in bringing these infections under
effective control despite several decades of public health
Dr Vallely said with the availability of new tools for prevention and control, such as polyvalent, HPV vaccines and innovative, easy to use and highly accurate point of care diagnostic tests, provide an
opportunity to significantly improve sexual and reproductive health during the
next 10 years. Gynecologist Professor Dr Glen Mola. from the School of Medicine
and Health Sciences of the University of Papua New Guinea, said: "From a health
context point of view, how we tackle reproductive health from more than any
other health issue will determine whether PNG succeeds or fails as a
"Unless we control HIV our health systems could collapse and the disease could wipe out both the elite and working class of our country," he said.