PNG’S MOND CALLS FOR LAW TO PROTECT HIV POSITIVES

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PNG’S MOND CALLS FOR LAW TO PROTECT HIV POSITIVES

By Ennio Kuble

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Dec. 2, 1999 – The National)---There is need for the National AIDS Council to push for legislation that will protect HIV positives at their workplaces and prevent discrimination and prejudice against them or their families.

Rejection, unfounded fear, discrimination and prejudice prevent HIV positives from opening up. They also discourage others from going for HIV screening.

Health Vice Minister Ludger Mond said legislation has to be formulated to address these issues.

Mr. Mond said coordinated support and education also are needed by families dealing with HIV cases.

Legislation is also needed to address compensation claims, he said.

Discrimination and fear are not doing any good in the campaign against the disease, he said during a World AIDS Day address.

A person only referred to as "Friend," who is also the Chairman of the Friends Foundation, an organization made up of HIV positives and other willing people who work to support the HIV positives, said it is hard to understand people having negative attitudes towards those people who are affected by the disease.

He called for the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS cases to be supported as well as to equip them on how to live and cope with the disease.

He said he was once a government worker but being sick with the disease his services were terminated, which cut off the support he used to provide for his family.

Recent HIV/AIDS statistics show that the National Capital District recorded the highest number of cases, 437. Western Highlands has 66, Chimbu 17 and Morobe eight.

The cumulative figure as, of 1987, is 1,952 cases. NCD recorded 1,379, Western Highlands 143, Morobe 78, Chimbu 71 and Western 30 cases.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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