Papua New Guinea Launches HIV/AIDS Research Plan

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Health officials in Papua New Guinea's capital of Port Moresby on Wednesday launched a national HIV/AIDS research agenda for 2008 to 2013, the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier reports. According to speakers at the agenda's launch, the research plan, as well as the establishment of a research unit in the National AIDS Council Secretariat earlier this month, will bolster the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.


The agenda establishes a plan and guidelines for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection research conducted in Papua New Guinea. Its priorities include: increasing knowledge about the main factors behind HIV transmission in Papua New Guinea; improving understanding of the conditions faced by people affected by the disease; examining the efficacy and appropriateness of the country's response to the disease; and evaluating the economic and social impacts of HIV/AIDS.

At the launch, Governor-General Paulias Matane said that the research agenda comes at a time when Papua New Guinea needs to bolster its response to HIV/AIDS. Health Secretary Clement Malau said that the agenda will help guide the country's response to HIV/AIDS in a direction that can help improve people's lives. Jamie Maxtone-Graham, chair for the Special Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS, said that although leadership is a key factor in curbing the spread of HIV, leaders in Papua New Guinea have not done enough to address the disease (Gerawa, Post-Courier, 10/9).

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I am very interested to find out whether the Research Plan has also set our a research agenda and who and how will this research be funded. AusAid has already spent billion of A$ on sponsoring such research without as yet much success. Having conducted socio-economic micro-studies in PNG since 1959 I am convinced that a pre-condition to reducing the still rising infection rate is to discover not only how the different PNG population communities regard and understand HIV/AIDS and the different awareness messages they've seen or heard but also how traditional beliefs and cultural norms influence their current sexual practices. As far as I can ascertain, there's yet been no systematic Action Research undertaken to explain this, Professor T. Scarlett Epstein OBE [email protected]