Governor Parkop wants Sex Workers and Gays protected

SEX workers in Port Moresby should be given “space” so that they feel safe and not discriminated against, according to National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop.
He told a forum on HIV-AIDS last week that he would meet with the gay community and sex workers in the national capital.
“I am ready to break the law in our city that is against sex activities, and to set a trend and create space for female and male sex workers to feel safe,” he said.
“I will be meeting with the gay community and sex workers community.”
He said people living with the virus should be able to access health services and not be discriminated against.
Parkop was told that there were gaps in strengthening referral pathways between key population and service providers involved in sexually-transmitted infections and Tuberculosis.
The gaps identified include sensitising health workers and society on how to work with people living with the virus and to accept them into the community to “stop stigma and discrimination”.
“I am ready to turn the table around. Working towards no more HIV infection in the nation’s capital, looking at developing strategy with vulnerable people and people seeking refuge in the city – transgender and sex workers,” he said.
The forum was held last week as a lead-up awareness to today’s World AIDS Day programme.
Peter Bire, of the National AIDS Council secretariat, said an estimated 32,000 people were living with HIV in the country. But thousands more are living with virus without knowing it.
He said the rate was decreasing or stabilising to around 2000 new cases a year. The national average adult prevalence rate is under one percent (0.65%).
World AIDS Day today will raise further awareness about HIV-AIDS and “demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic”.
“We will reflect on our own HIV/AIDS situation, honor our AIDS victims, inform our people about the danger of HIV/AIDS, and show support of people living with HIV and how to prevent further spread of the deadly disease,” he said.
Worlds AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987, the same year HIV/AIDS was first reported in PNG.
He said the country had come a long way in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The National

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