7 Oct 2004

Indonesia accused of shutting eyes over Aids in Papua

11:25 am on 7 October 2004

Health workers in the Indonesian province of Papua have accused the government of having shut its eyes to the increasing problem of HIV/Aids in the region.

Data from the Timika family planning office shows more than 540 people in the city are known to be infected with HIV.

The director of the Papua Aids Foundation, Pastor Bert Hogendoorn, says Papuans often move between the city and the regions.

Mr Hogendoorn says a lack of knowledge about the virus means it's spreading rapidly into remote villages.

He says villagers don't take the disease seriously because Aids symptoms can take years to develop and more education programmes are needed.