AusAID has released a report criticising the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS programs in Papua New Guinea saying there is little evidence that programs have limited the spread of HIV.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb Professor Crabb told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that the report should be interpreted carefully; it is not saying that HIV/AIDS programs in Papua New Guinea have been ineffective.
He said that in general, not just in this instance, there is a failure to properly measure the impact of interventions.
“The reality is the epidemic of HIV in PNG has not got to anywhere near where it was predicted, five to 10 years ago, a million people were predicted to have HIV in PNG but the real number is more like 50,000,” Professor Crabb said.
“It’s a big number and a real worry but not near the catastrophic number that was being predicted or that other countries, especially some in Africa, experience.”
Professor Crabb also said that the lack of detailed and accurate information means there is little definitive understanding of which HIV programs are successful.
“Where is the accompanying quality data, the baseline survey of the initial intervention before the follow up later on?” he questioned.
“This is more of a general issue of where development assistance is going because if you have quality data you can really measure the impact of intervention X over intervention Y and your programs improve based on real knowledge.”
The AusAID report notes that more than $174 million was spent on HIV prevention in Papua New Guinea between 2007 and 2010.
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