THE killer Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV and Acquired Immuno-deficiency Virus (AIDS hit world stage in the early 1980s and countries developed different strategies to deal with the resultant epidemic facing them.
It has been recorded that HIV was first detected in PNG in 1987. The government introduced the HIV and AIDS Management and Prevention Act which reflected its commitment to HIV/AIDS proliferation in PNG. The Act also provides a basis for a multi-sectoral approach in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Many state and non-state organisations have joined hands in developing workplace HIV/AIDS policies for employees, churches have taken on the challenge, international non-government organisations, civil society organisations and community based organisations have evolved to contribute their share of contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic in PNG.
The University of Goroka has undertaken to contribute its share of contributions to the national effort in educating and creating awareness to its student population, its staff and the surrounding communities of the risks and consequences of HIV/AIDS.
The university has developed various approaches and among them are the establishment of a voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) clinic through the Komuniti Tok Piksa program and a compulsory course for all students enrolled at the university, ‘U100 HIV and AIDS’.
The coordinator of the course, Mrs Alice Kauba, and the university management are passionate and share the view that university students, while here to study different fields of their choice, have a unique opportunity to learn and acquire relevant knowledge and skills to become advocators of HIV/AIDS in the communities they serve after their graduation.
The graduates of the University of Goroka are among the active, knowledgeable and skillful individuals who are raising awareness on HIV/AIDS in the communities.
Mrs Kauba, with support from university management, NGOs and individuals, has developed a three day HIV/AIDS workshop at the university. The aim is to bring staff who have been teaching HIV/AIDS courses together with external partners to interact and share experiences, research information and personal views on the topic of HIV/AIDS.
Mrs Kaupa stressed at the workshop that the priority need for the ‘U100 HIV/AIDS’ course is to recruit and train lecturers and tutors so they are qualified to teach HIV/AIDS so it can serve as a platform for social and behaviour change in students.
The discussion topics for the three day workshop, which ends today, range from global and national overviews of HIV/AIDS, male circumcision and the prevention of HIV transmission, the reproductive system, family planning methods, the immune system and HIV, sexually transmitted infection, gender & HIV, HIV/AIDS management & prevention, and culture and HIV/AIDS.