The Life Drama Project makes use of applied theatre & performance techniques to promote sexual health & wellbeing in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific and Northern Australia.


1.2 Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STIs) in PNG

It is difficult to estimate prevalence rates for Sexually Transmitted Illnesses in PNG, but rates as high as 60% have been cited for some areas.

Factors contributing to the spread of Sexually Transmitted Illnesses include:

  • lack of knowledge about the symptoms of these illnesses
  • fear of being stigmatised for seeking treatment
  • lack of health services in some areas, including shortages of effective antibiotics
  • non-consensual sexual relations including forced sex, and sex with minors
  • individuals having numerous sexual partners
  • lack of availability or acceptance of condoms

It is generally agreed that Sexually Transmitted Illnesses and HIV interact to make both problems worse:

  • a person who has an STI is more vulnerable to HIV infection
  • a person who is HIV positive is more vulnerable to developing an STI
  • behaviours that contribute to the spread of STIs also contribute to HIV transmission – for example, having multiple partners, not using condoms
  • people are reluctant to be tested for STIs or HIV for fear of being stigmatised, and therefore do not access medical treatment