13 November 2010
Bali & HIV...
The National AIDS Commission of Indonesia has reported that one in four of some 8,000 sex workers in Bali are HIV positive. For the percentage inclined, that is 25%. The data also shows a corresponding spike in infection rates. This is primarily being discussed as an issue of heterosexual men having unprotected sex with HIV+ sex workers and then going home to infect their partners.
Official figures record Bali as having 3,181 case of HIV infection. This figure does not includes a spike of 18.7% over the past 12 months, which sees that figure rise a further 596 cases to a total of 3,778. It is expected that if the government does not become much more pro-active in tackling HIV/AIDS through more comprehensive education and prevention strategies that this number is likely to increase.
On a somewhat scarier note, the Commission reports that it estimates that the figures represent about 15% of the 'true' number of infections. This is about where UNAIDS stands on HIV infections in Indonesia. UNAIDS estimates that there are at least 270,000 Indonesians living with HIV.
West Java, Papua and Bali seem to be the provinces most effected and affected by HIV / AIDS. To be honest, I am surprised that the number is not even higher still.
On a more positive note. The fact that more HIV cases are being reported may be indicative of more people becoming more willing to be tested and treated in the event they are positive. Also in the positive side of the equation is that there are regulations in place that prohibit discrimination against HIV+ people in the workplace. I appreciate that there is a difference between having regulations in place and enforcement. However, it must be noted that the regulations are their and people can avail themselves of the opportunity to address any discrimination that they may be exposed to in the workplace.
Hopefully, it will not be too far into the future that we will have a vaccine to prevent further infections and a cure for those already infected.