Papua New Guinea

The implementation was carried out in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) provinces of Western Highlands and Chimbu, funded by a grant from PNG’s National AIDS Council (NACS). Igat Hope, the national representative organisation of people living with HIV in PNG, had aimed to conduct interviews in all regions of PNG. However, due to funding constraints and organisational capacities, the Stigma Index has only been applied in one region, that is, the Highlands Region.
Despite these limitations, the data, the analysis and the recommendations are important and should be taken into account by all involved in the response to the HIV epidemic in PNG. The catch-cry in PNG is that ‘HIV is everybody’s business’ so finding solutions to the problems identified in this report is indeed everybody’s business. Most repondents were between the ages of 25 and 39 and had been living with HIV for 5 to 9 years.

Some important findings include:

  • Nearly all respondents indicated they were sexually active, although fewer than a quarter said they were married or co-habiting with a partner.

  • More than 10 percent identified as belonging to the category of sexworker.

  • A small percentage said they belonged to the group men who have sex with men (MSM) or gay

  • Almost 70 percent said they had been physically assaulted in the previous twelve months and that it was because of their HIV status.

  •  More than half said they had not attended social gatherings because of their HIV status. Being gossiped about was identified as the major problem and nearly half of the respondents said they felt ashamed, guilty or blamed themselves for their HIV status.
  • More than a third of those interviewed identified that in the past twelvemonths they had been excluded from  religious activities in their communities because of their HIV status.
  • The majority of respondents said they had felt isolated from family and friends in the previous twelve months because of their HIV status and nearly half said they had, at one time in the last twelve months, felt suicidal. 

The summary and full reports are available below