SEX WORKERS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA FAVOR USE OF FEMALE CONDOMS

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By Helen Rei

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 11, 2000 - The Independent/PINA Nius Online)---Research by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) on female condoms has shown that many sex workers are in favor of their use.

Former IMR research fellow Joe Anang said that most of the sex workers like them because it helps assure safer sex.

There were two research projects that IMR carried out on the condoms, one in 1994-1995 and the other in 1996-1997. The latter was funded by the United Nations Population Fund.

Mr. Anang said that female condoms initially were only introduced into the country for research purposes and now that the research phase is over, they are no longer in general use.

However, he said the demand for the female condoms now is high in PNG, although it is quite expensive to purchase them.

He said a pharmacy in Port Moresby is selling them for K 6 (US$ 1.91) per condom.

He said these condoms are only to be used once and disposed of and it is costly for most women.

He said it will have to be the prerogative of the national government to consider having more brought into the country at government expense.

Acting Director of Medical Supplies Jigo Kano said although the research was carried out, the female condoms have not yet been officially approved.

He said the research recommendations presented to Health Secretary Dr. Puka Temu include that condoms should be available in the country.

He said right now the condoms are not being supplied by the government anywhere in the country.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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