THE LAST red yellow rays of the sun dip behind the hills of Ensisi Valley and cut through the leaves of the fig tree crouching over a long green rectangular structure.
This is the building that houses the Papua New Guinean Anglicare headquarters along Koura Way in Port Moresby,
Flowers line up neatly on the footpath and young palm branches stoop low to the ground, creating an exquisite home for diverse insects that buzz around in assorted voices.
Wild flowers speckle the base of a few young Acacia and Melaleuca trees that in the heat of the day, cast a dense wide shade over what looks like a nature garden.
The concrete footpaths lead to a small central spherical plaza tiled with bricks and encircled by a low stone wall just as high as a knee.
The afternoon breeze wheezes through the leafy canopy and scoops up a pile of dead leaves revealing a huge red ribbon, the universal symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS that has been painted on the ground.
A short distance away, outside the perimeter fence, tired eyes stare out from behind steering wheels and horns sound impatiently as strangers squat inside their cars, part of the rush to be first at the Waigani traffic lights.
Taxi drivers scream and swear as they fight for space nearer to the fuel pumps of the Mobil service station for their last refuel of the day.
The clock ticks down towards nightfall and the city’s usual curse of Friday night psychosis.
A young boy and a girl pass by, holding hands, laughing and teasing each other. I can see they are in love.
A bald headed man and a grey haired woman walk past on the other side, talking and smiling at each other.
A young mother, her baby tightly clasped in her arms, hurries across the road, maybe to catch a late bus home or to do some last minute shopping.
The breeze has become blustery and blows a spray of dead leaves from the red ribbon that tells of HIV/AIDS in our country
Many people are scared, not wanting to know their HIV status.
The number of people infected demands alertness and awareness and a creative approach to effectively educate and counsel people living within risk areas. The goal is to lead them towards testing.
There is also a need to explore new pathways and shift the country’s approach away from traditional ways.
People need to be motivated to come in for voluntary check-ups, counselling and treatment.
There is a need to further reach out to people who are scared of knowing their health status or, knowing it, are threatened by stigma and discrimination.
Walk in and get tested at your nearest VCCT clinic if you’re living with anxiety.
It is free and you will gain the freedom that certainty brings.