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First Time out In Gulf Province


2012 World AIDS Day Stories

By Margaret Sepi-Munjin

Young GIDEON LAUNA is barely 32 , has 6 children  and has the virus. He was diagnosed with HIV  6 years ago at the STI Clinic in Kerema Gulf Province.

Out of his 6 children, only the fifth child contracted the virus from the mother as both parents were not on treatment at that time.

His reason for coming out publically is to assist those who are still unable to accept their status to admit and feel free to live a normal positive life. He said, many people are infected in Kerema town but are shying away from coming out because of stigma and discrimination.

Launa  believes that buai selling and trading is one of the many factors that contributed to the increase in  HIV infections in Gulf and also along the Hiritano Highway. He is currently working closely with the Gulf Provincial AIDS Committee to provide Counseling and Referrals to people who are coming forth to be tested .

He said, he is not afraid to speak up because he wants the Gulf people to be educated  and be better informed about the virus so that prevention could start. He calls on more positive people to come out publically and help him advocate in the province.