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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 14, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Preliminary reports tend to confirm predictions that AIDS is becoming the leading cause of death in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that that Health Minister, Ludger Mond, has released the latest statistics on HIV -- the virus that leads to AIDS -- showing there were 185 new cases in the first quarter of this year.

"There have been 1,741 cases since HIV was detected here in 1987. Six hundred and eighteen people have progressed to full-blown AIDS and 145 have died.

"There have been predictions for some time that AIDS will soon be the leading cause of death in Port Moresby, and figures from the city's General Hospital, where AIDS is now the biggest cause of death, show the prediction is coming true.

"Limited HIV testing around the country means the real picture is probably worse than the figures indicate, and the Health Minister concedes it will get worse before there's any real improvement.

"Richard Dinnen, Port Moresby."

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