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The current HIV situation in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has recently been considered as a ‘mixed’ epidemic, because although its prevalence is significantly higher in key populations, it still affects large population groups that cannot be easily classified into these populations. The most recent projections estimated the national prevalence at 0.89%, with an estimated 47,795 people living with HIV in 2017.1 HIV prevalence within the country continues to vary geographically, with the Highlands Region and the National Capital District displaying the highest percentages, 1.10% and 1.64% respectively.
General elections were held in PNG from 24 June to 8 July 2017 leading to a considerable amount of unrest and violence throughout the country.
The most up-to-date information provided by the Catholic Church Health Services of PNG (CCHS) shows that in 2016 they recorded 1,307 new HIV registrations across all clinic sites. In the same year in the Highlands region, where most of the CHPNG clinical mentoring takes place, 851 new HIV registrations were recorded.
Since 2017, ASHM is working as part of a consortia on a concurrent and complementary project, the Sexual & Reproductive Health Integration Project (SRHIP) in PNG to expand reach and coverage of STI, HIV, SRH and primary health services within CCHS and Anglicare PNG. The specific focus of SRHIP aims to integrate standalone HIV clinics into PNG's primary health system; and to establish referral pathways to broader SRH services.
The Collaboration for Health in Papua New Guinea (CHPNG) is a partnership which continues to build on the last 14 years of collaboration and work between the CHPNG, ASHM, Caritas, Igat Hope, PNG National Department of Health (NDOH), National Association for People living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), National Catholic AIDS Office and the Catholic Church Health Services of PNG (CCHS) aiming at building the local capacity of the health workers and the local communities of PNG to HIV by:
ASHM plays a key clinical training and mentorship role in CHPNG leading on the training of multidisciplinary teams of nearly 400 PNG healthcare workers to manage HIV. Our Clinical Advisors provide ongoing education to improve the skills of those providing care.
ASHM also provides a clinical mentoring program focusing on HIV treatment and management (ARV therapy, point-of-care testing, including HIV rapid-test technologies), sexual health screening, and practical in-consultation case management.
Clinical mentoring delivered to Catholic HIV and AIDS Service (CHASI) health workers in 7 provinces:
2003 – Present
ASHM have a well-established pool of Australian and PNG based mentors who have long standing relationships with the clinics they support. This enables open communication and facilitates strong knowledge sharing and skills building. Clinical mentoring visits will continuem, alomg with the training of health workers from PNG and other Pacific countries in ART Prescribing. Further mentoring and training is planned to support the Catholic Health Service HIV clinics; the HSHSP and Caritas-funded STI laboratories and the PNG health workforce.
For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:
Michelle O'Connor | ASHM International HIV&SRH Program Adviser
Michelle.OConnor@ashm.org.au | +61 2 8204 0736
The CHPNG is a philanthropic initiative of private companies in the pharmaceutical industry, based in Australia, which supports HIV health care services in the PNG national Catholic health system. The Catholic health system provides services to a large proportion of the PNG population and is a key player in the national response to HIV and AIDS.
As part of this program ASHM conducts a clinical mentoring program across a wide range of locations and targeted workshops to clinics and health services in the Southern Highlands, Enga, Chimbu and West New Britain provinces. For more information on CHPNG, visit the CHPNG website