A five-year research agenda was recently launched in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG), in the hope of strengthening the country’s response to HIV/AIDS, the Post-Courier newspaper reports.

According to the article, the National Research Agenda for HIV and AIDS 2008–2013 aims to increase knowledge about the causes of the nation’s HIV epidemic and to help reduce stigma toward people living with the virus.

“The launch of the National Research Agenda has come at a very critical time where there is a need to boost our HIV and AIDS response,” said PNG Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane. PNG, comprised mostly of several islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 6.3 million people.