Reduce sex work stigma in PNG to bring down numbers of AIDS deaths, says Port Moresby governor

Published: December 5, 2014

Yara Murray-Atfield
Original Article:

Papua New Guinea has one of the highest rates of HIV infections outside of the African continent and a struggling public health system.

It has over 90 per cent of HIV-AIDS cases in the Pacific, and was labelled as on track to "pandemic" rates earlier in the year.

The worst-affected in the developing nation are sex workers.

United Nations AIDS data shows 19 per cent of female sex workers, 9 per cent of male and 24 per cent of transgender sex workers are HIV positive.

Sex work and homosexuality are criminalised under PNG law, which experts believe leads to higher rates of HIV.

The governor of Port Moresby, Powes Parkop, has told Radio Australia it was the stigmatisation and discrimination of these communities that caused high infection rates and deaths from HIV-AIDS.

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