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International News

Indonesia's HIV Population Among Fastest-Growing in Asia

February 20, 2007

On Saturday, a senior Indonesian health official said a joint government-World Health Organization review found the nation's HIV infection rate is among Asia's highest.

"In the past few years there has been an increase in the number of cases among high-risk populations in Indonesia," said I. Nyoman Kandun, director-general of the health ministry's infectious-diseases department. "The epidemic has spread swiftly among injection drug users, transsexuals, and commercial sex workers, from and to their clients."

More than 2 percent of the population in the eastern Papua province has HIV, 20 times the national average, the survey found. The health system there is underdeveloped, said Bjorn Melgaard, senior investigator. "Due to the unique nature of the epidemic and limited financial, human and technical resources locally available, fundamentally different needs should be addressed in Papua," he said.

In 2006, the country reported it had 4,617 HIV cases and 6,987 AIDS cases. A more accurate figure might be much higher, as the nation's narcotics body estimates half of Indonesia's 570,000 intravenous drug users are HIV-infected.

Melgaard said blood safety is a "weak element in the emergency response" and urged that it be made a national priority. "The HIV/AIDS program remains highly donor-dependent, raising concerns about the sustainability of the program," he said. "Condoms are not always available or promoted in health service facilities."

Back to other news for February 20, 2007

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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