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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Getting tested for the future

I am a young Papua New Guinean woman who has been working in the development sector for several years. Despite this, I had never been tested for HIV.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has one of the most serious HIV epidemics in the Pacific region. Approximately 25,000 people are living with HIV in PNG and 13,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS.

Infections rates are rising amongst young people in rural areas. To help combat the spread of HIV ChildFund PNG is rolling out Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT) in the communities we work with in Rigo district, Central Province.

Being young and having been in a relationship where my partner had been unfaithful, I realised it was time I think about my future and get tested to learn my HIV status.

While in the field, I decided to utilise the VCCT service provided in Kokorogoro village by ChildFund. I was a bit nervous but I was encouraged by my colleague, Terina €“ from ChildFund Australia who was in PNG on a monitoring trip €“ and both of us went to be tested.

The VCCT service is very thorough and professional. When you get tested you receive both pre and post-testing counselling and the HIV test is done by a ChildFund-trained community health worker.

Now I know personally how it feels to be tested and also the feeling you get afterwards when you know the result. I was so happy to know my status.

I am relieved and am now looking forward to living a responsible and healthy life. I want to live a long life and contribute to building our nation.

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