Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a sovereign state in Oceania that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. It is the world's third largest island country with 462,840 km2 (178,700 sq mi).
Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18% of its people live in urban centres.There are 851 known languages in the country, of which 11 now have no known speakers. Most of the population of more than 8,000,000 people lives in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages. The country is one of the world's least explored, culturally and geographically. It is known to have numerous groups of uncontacted peoples, and researchers believe there are many undiscovered species of plants and animals in the interior.
HIV in PNG
Papua New Guinea has the highest incidence and prevalence of HIV in the pacific, and in contrast to other countries involved in the SKPA program, HIV is categorised as a generalised epidemic.
While significant ground has been made in treatment and prevention programs, issues persist in retaining people living with HIV on life-long treatment - a difficulty that is exacerbated by poor infrastructure and stigma towards PLHIV and other key populations.
As of 2016, there were an estimated 46 000 PLHIV, with just 52% of those diagnosed accessing antiretroviral therapy. There was also 2800 new infections registered in the same year. Mother to child transmission features as a core problem in PNG’s HIV epidemic, with it estimated that only 33% of pregnant women living with HIV are accessing prophylaxis to prevent transmission
Notably, there is also a HIV prevalence of 17.8% amongst sex workers.
The Burnet Institute has over 15 years experience building the capacity of civil society organisations to respond to HIV in developing countries and has a had a strong presence in PNG for over a decade. They implement community-based programs and undertake social and clinical research, working towards bridging strategic information gaps to improve evidence-based policymaking.
They partner with both government and non-government health agencies, and have extensive links with key civil society organisations and key population communities across the country. They actively employ key populations as field staff on research activities, building their capacity throughout.