News – HIV awareness in PNG

Emma Stewart
01 January, 2008 1 min read

HIV awareness in PNG

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is committed to helping those with HIV and AIDS in Papua New Guinea (PNG), a country with the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region.

In much of PNG, people are uneducated about HIV and AIDS. Those suffering are often said to be victims of witchcraft or a curse. In the rural communities, the disease spreads and those suffering become social outcasts.

All MAF staff undergo training based on a biblical response to HIV and AIDS. Along with HIV project officer Kambowa Kukyuwa who has 28 years experience as a government health worker, they have been helping those living in towns and villages. Kambowa also used MAF flights to reach remoter towns and villages.

Kambowa shares, ‘One even mentioned that people from his home area had buried alive a lady who had come to the village from town infected with the virus. The people in his village viewed HIV and AIDS as a dreaded, contagious, killer disease’.

‘Others have testified that they used to feel scared of living close to people with the virus. That meant for them no sharing of food and clothing. Not even living in the same house as the person with the virus’.

It is hoped to reach as many rural communities in PNG as possible to prevent future misunderstanding and tragedy.

Emma Stewart

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