The ASHM Regional Advisory Group (RAG) on BBVs, Sexual Health and COVID-19 has been established to provide a forum for regional BBV stakeholders and sector partners to discuss the scientific, clinical, sexual health and BBV health service delivery and social implications of COVID-19. The Group is an extension of the ASHM National Taskforce on BBVs, sexual health and COVID-19. The RAG will provide emerging, consistent and evidence-based messaging regarding BBVs, sexual health and COVID-19 for the healthcare workforce, sector partners, governments. The RAG will also advocate to ensure the inclusion of people living with, and affected by, HIV, other STIs and viral hepatitis and other priority populations in the regional response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

The PNG Sub-Group of the ASHM Regional Advisory Group emerged in recognition of the specific needs of the BBV and sexual health workforce and health system in Papua New Guinea during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The Sub-Group comprises of ASHM International, PNG Sexual Health Society and Catholic Church Health Services (CCHS) and will work closely with PNG National Department of Health, National AIDS Council Secretariat, WHO, UNAIDS and other key partners through the PNG HIV Technical Working Group.

The PNG Sub-Group will focus on providing information and support to ASHM International’s large network of trained health workers under the SRH Integration Project. The content of all messaging will be relevant to the country’s context and epidemics (HIV, other BBVs and STIs) and consistent with the PNG national response for COVID-19. Activities will focus on:

  1. Building the capacity of the HIV, other BBV and sexual health sector and workforce in PNG to respond to COVID-19
  2. Strengthening awareness among the HIV, other BBV and sexual health workforce in PNG of universal precautions and infection control measures specific to COVID-19
  3. Promoting continuity in delivery of HIV, other BBV and sexual health services in PNG during COVID-19
  4. Addressing stigma and discrimination to increase universal access to sector services during COVID-19

ASHM International is committed to supporting our partner organisations and health workers in Papua New Guinea throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work together to ensure the continuation of HIV, other BBV and sexual health services during this challenging time, and to improve the capacity of health staff to respond to this emerging health and systems crisis.