The first case of HIV was reported in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1987. Since then the prevalence of HIV has risen dramatically.

AusAID* reports document the following:

PNG has the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region. It is estimated that 2% of the adult population, approximately 64,000 people, are now HIV positive.

PNG now has one of the highest rates of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region, and is the fourth country in the region to be classified as having a generalised HIV epidemic.

Heterosexual transmission is the predominant means of infection. While approximately equal numbers of men and women are currently affected, young women and older men are disproportionately affected.

Significant HIV prevalence rates are found both in large urban areas, such as Port Moresby, and in rural pockets, typically around high risk settings including transport routes, mining and logging sites.

Unless interventions to address the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS in PNG are scaled up, by 2025:

  • Over 500,000 people will be living with HIV/AIDS
  • 117,000 children will have lost their mothers to AIDS
  • The workforce will have declined by 12.5%
  • GDP will be 1.3% less than predicted
  • 70% of all hospital beds will be needed for AIDS patients