LAE (MOROBE) - Morobe province, the second largest city in Papua New Guinea which is undergoing rapid economic development, has raised more concerns are raised in terms of the dangers of HIV/AIDS and risks of contracting it.
More people in the rural areas are flocking into the city in search of development benefits they don’t have in their own rural areas.
The provincial AIDS committee said the HIV is increasing at a rate of two percent yearly but it might possibly increase in the next twelve months.
Statistics collected by the provincial AIDS Committee from various HIV/AIDS testing sites within Lae city alone are extraordinary.
“We are yet to see the true picture of Morobe statistics," said Joanne Ganoka, the Provincial HIV/AIDS program coordinator.
She said the Lae district, says if more HIV/AIDS testing sites are established in the other eight districts in the province, the rate will be extremely high.
While Morobe province is expanding in terms of economic activities, the rate of HIV/AIDS is also expected to increase.
This has also forced the provincial HIV/AIDS committee to speak out for more financial assistance from both the provincial and national governments.
"We need the provincial government to see HIV/AIDS as a concern in this province”, said Dr. Percy Pokehe, a member of the Provincial AIDS Committee.
If more testing sites are established, accurate data will be collected so that funding and treatment will be allocated appropriately.
From 2012 statistics the provincial AIDS committee recorded a total of about 500 people living with the virus. That figure is for Lae city alone, excluding the other eight districts of Morobe province.
There are concerns that Morobe and Papua New Guinea might go down the same path as South Africa where HIV, more than any other disease, kills more than one million people a year. [EMTV]