United Nations figures show PNG remains the country most affected by HIV in the Pacific region but progress is being made in testing and treatment of the illness.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles said according to UNAIDS, an estimated 34, 000 Papua New Guineans are living with HIV.
"Many more suffer as a consequence of the illness, especially children who can be orphaned or unable to complete their education due to their parents' illness. HIV leaves many former breadwinners too sick to work and medical costs are expensive," Mr Marles said.
"Australia is committed to working closely with the PNG Government to support their efforts to combat HIV/AIDS at both the national and provincial levels and we are beginning to see results from the work being done.
"In 2010, Australia helped more than 7500 people in PNG access treatment for HIV and in 2011 we supported more than 72,000 Papua New Guineans, including 11,000 pregnant women, to find out their HIV status."
Mr Marles said a short film being launched in Melbourne tonight highlights the impact of HIV/AIDS in PNG.
Produced by the Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS (APBCA), the film entitled Hope for Life tells the stories of people dealing with the issue of HIV, and the support provided to those who have lost family members to AIDS related illness.
"Australia is proud to support the Business Coalition Against HIV and AIDS (BAHA) — PNG’s country level implementation of APBCA.
"As well as getting businesses to provide workers with HIV prevention education and create workplaces free of discrimination, BAHA plays a key role in promoting the safe sex message in PNG."
Hope for Life will premiere at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and screen at festivals around Australia.
- Parliamentary Secretary's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555
- AusAID Media: 0417 680 590